This site is intended for health professionals only

Workforce crisis: 40,000 nurses quit last year and GP numbers drop

Workforce crisis: 40,000 nurses quit last year and GP numbers drop
By Jess Hacker
30 September 2022

As many as 40,365 nurses in England left active service in the year to June 2022, analysis has revealed, as the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) sounds alarm over GP retention.

The new analysis, led by the Nuffield Trust for the BBC, identified the equivalent of one-in-nine nurses had quit the NHS, with a leaver rate of 11.5%.

This marked ‘a peak in absolute terms’ over the decade, with 6,100 more nurses leaving than during the previous peak five years earlier, they said.

The analysis added that the Government is only halfway to meeting its target for 50,000 more nurses in post by March 2024.

Meanwhile, the RCGP has called for GP retention schemes to be urgently overhauled, after highlighting their key failings and flagging worrying leaver rates.

According to its new report, as many as 42% of GPs in England said they intend to leave the profession over the next five years, and one-in-10 said they planned on leaving in just one year.

Between September 2015 and August 2022, the number of FTE GPs fell by 1,849 from 29,364 to 27,515.

Almost a quarter (23%) of GPs across the UK are so stressed they said they felt they couldn’t cope most days or every day, while 22% felt this way once or twice a week.

And more than half (53%) of GPs in England do not think they are able to work flexibly in a way that allows them to meet personal needs or work fewer hours without retiring.

The College named a number of areas in England where next to no GPs are registered on existing national retention schemes.

South Yorkshire currently has just six GPs on the national retention scheme, despite losing 187 GPs and trainees between June 2019 and June 2022.

And Manchester also has only six GPs on the scheme, despite 117 GPs and trainees leaving over the last three years.

It added that a survey it carried out earlier this year found that 11% of GPs in England were ‘unaware of the national GP retention scheme’.

The College called for an additional £150m per year to be put towards the evaluation and expansion of England’s national and local GP retention schemes, with further funding for the devolved nations.

It said this funding should go to developing ‘local retention initiatives in every locality’ for GPs to access a national retention scheme and tailored support to stay in the profession longer.

Want news like this straight to your inbox?

Related articles