Small rise in number of nurses in primary care in England

The primary care workforce data shows that in March this year there were 16,483 whole-time equivalent nurses working in the sector.

This represents a 1.9% increase of 313 more nurses than in March 2018, according to NHS Digital’s report, which was published today.

Meanwhile, the total headcount for nurses working in general practice settings in March this year was 23,756, which is 480 or 2.1% more than at the same point last year.

Full-time GP numbers increased by about the same amount over the period, rising by 312 to 34,736 between March 2018 and March 2019.

There were also smaller increases in numbers of clinical pharmacists and physician associates.

Dr Nikki Kanani, interim medical director for primary care at NHS England and a London GP said: “A significant increase in the number of other health professionals such as nurses, pharmacists and physicians that work alongside GPs means patients can get more timely and appropriate access to a wider range of highly trained staff.”

Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, said: “It is good to see an increase in the number of other healthcare professionals working in general practice.”

But he added: “The steady increase in patient demand coupled with hundreds fewer full-time equivalent GPs means that practices across the country are being placed under tremendous pressure.”