FEWER fully-trained GPs are practising in Barnsley than last year, new figures have shown.
Figures from NHS Digital show there were 146 full-time equivalent GPs in the former Barnsley CCG - now South Yorkshire ICB - in November.
But 27 of those were in training, meaning just 119 were fully qualified - down from 121 in 2021.
Nationally, there were 27,400 fully-trained GPs in November - down from 27,900 in November 2021 and a decrease of 1.7 per cent, the largest annual fall in more than three years.
England saw the biggest year-on-year fall in over three years in fully qualified GPs, despite the government’s 2019 manifesto pledge to recruit 6,000 more GPs by 2025.
The British Medical Association (BMA) trade union said the continued decline in fully trained GPs - which means there are now more than 1,900 full-time equivalent fewer doctors than in 2015 - is ‘alarming’, and urged the government to take the situation seriously.
Dr Kieran Sharrock, GP committee acting chair at BMA England, said: “Despite promises to recruit 5,000 - and then 6,000 - more GPs, the government has now overseen the loss of the equivalent of more than 1,900 full-time fully-qualified GPs in England since 2015.( “That almost a quarter of this loss happened in the last 12 months alone speaks volumes to the intense pressures that practices and staff are under.”
Dr Sharrock added that many GPs are having to take difficult decisions to reduce their hours or leave the profession altogether to protect their wellbeing as workload demands and financial stresses mount.
“Rather than piling on more pressure, the government needs to show it is taking this dire workforce situation seriously and encourage more family doctors to stay in the profession when our communities need them most,” Dr Sharrock added.
In Barnsley, the number of GPs in the training grade rose from 21 to 27.
The Department for Health and Social Care said it is ‘incredibly grateful’ to GPs for their hard work.
A spokesperson said at least £1.5bn will be invested to create an additional 50 million appointments by 2024.
“There were nearly 2,300 more doctors working in general practice in September compared to September 2019 and a record-breaking number started training as GPs last year,” they added.
Despite the number of GPs reducing, the number of complaints also fell.
Data from NHS Digital shows 425 complaints were made about GPs and dentists in the former NHS Barnsley CCG area in the year to March - down six per cent from the 450 made in the year to March 2019.
NHS Digital did not collate data on complaints for 2019/20 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Of the complaints, 128 were fully upheld - meaning the medical provider was ultimately found to be in the wrong.
This was down from 2018/19, when 48 per cent of complaints were upheld.