Issue date
30 Jun 2018
Thousands to attend Our NHS is 70 today (Saturday), a national rally calling on the government to invest in a world class NHS

New analysis published today (Saturday) by the TUC shows the hotspots in England where there are too few GPs.

There is a shortfall in every single one of the 44 STP planning areas into which NHS England is divided. And half of these areas are estimated to be working with at least 20% fewer GPs than they need for the size of their local population.

Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Luton STP has the largest shortfall, with 43% fewer GPs than needed. And no area has all the GPs need – even the best provided area Dorset STP has 4% too few GPs.

The TUC says that the widespread – and in many cases severe – GP shortfalls are the result of under-investment in the NHS, which is apparent across many of its services.

Health economists at the IFS and Health Foundation estimate that in the next five years the Department of Health will need 4% extra per year to keep the NHS running at current service levels. But to modernise the NHS, they estimate annual funding increases of 5% will be needed.

The government has committed to giving the NHS around £20bn more a year extra by 2023/24 – an increase to the Department of Health budget of around 3%. This leaves a funding gap of at least £8bn by 2023/24 to maintain current levels of service, and a gap of £16bn by 2023/24 to modernise the NHS.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Underfunding has left the NHS on the critical list. There are too few doctors, too few beds and too few healthcare staff.

“The best medicine for the NHS is the extra funding it needs. But the government is giving it too small a dose to bring it up to full health.

“We’re sending a message to the government today that our NHS needs a better deal. And it must be publicly owned and provided so that every penny goes to patient care and not to private profits.”

Frances O’Grady will speak today (Saturday) at Our NHS is 70, a national rally to celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS and to call on government to keep the NHS publicly owned and properly funded. To arrange an interview, call the TUC media team on 020 7467 1248.

Editors note

- League table for shortfall in GP provision by STP area

NHS STP areas*

number of GPs

number

of GPs needed

% shortfall

Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Luton

441

630

43

Lincolnshire

359

495

38

Kent and Medway

864

1,179

36

Mid and South Essex

566

763

35

Suffolk and North East Essex

482

632

31

Northamptonshire

372

478

29

North West London

1,178

1,522

29

North East London

1,057

1,361

29

South East London

952

1,226

29

Greater Manchester

1,494

1,905

28

Hertfordshire and West Essex

771

974

26

Surrey Heartlands

451

567

26

North Central London

810

1,012

25

Sussex and East Surrey

976

1,217

25

Frimley Health

394

490

24

Humber, Coast and Vale

723

892

23

South West London

845

1,041

23

Staffordshire

592

720

22

Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland

581

707

22

Lancashire and South Cumbria

907

1,101

21

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

501

605

21

West Yorkshire

1,417

1,697

20

Durham, Darlington, Teesside, northern Yorkshire

597

712

19

The Black Country

765

911

19

Norfolk and Waveney

556

659

19

Birmingham and Solihull

704

820

17

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire

540

631

17

Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West

992

1155

17

South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw

840

977

16

Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire

506

585

16

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and North Durham

967

1,108

15

Nottinghamshire

588

677

15

Coventry and Warwickshire

540

621

15

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight

1,017

1,171

15

Derbyshire

581

657

13

Cheshire and Merseyside

1,468

1,643

12

Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin

276

310

12

Gloucestershire

368

404

10

Herefordshire and Worcestershire

456

496

9

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

329

360

9

West, North and East Cumbria

187

203

8

Devon

711

766

8

Somerset

331

359

8

Dorset

484

501

4

* STP stands for sustainability and transformation partnership. These are 44 areas covering all of England, where local NHS organisations and councils have drawn up proposals to improve health and care in the areas they serve.

- Methodology:

  • McKinsey / NHS estimate that the number of appointments per week is 72 for every 1,000 population in England (of course it varies slightly between areas but that is an average).
  • The BMA estimate that the safe number of appointments a GP can deal with per week is 115 (they have methodology that backs this up – based on face time and hours per week based on 15 minutes consultations)
  • We calculate the number of appointments needed per week based on the resident patients in an STP area.
  • For example: A population of 100,000 would require 7,200 appointments per week. Dividing that figure by 115 (the number of appointments per week the BMA say is the safest ration per GP) gives 63 as the number of GPs required to meet demand.
  • We contrasted with the results with actual number of GPs in the STP area to provide a percentage shortfall.

- Health check app: The TUC and NHS Support Federation NHS Health Check online app for checking local NHS shortages is here: https://healthcheck.nhsfunding.info/funding/

- IFS and Health Foundation future funding report:  On 24 May the IFS and Health Foundation published Securing the future: funding health and social care to the 2030s. They concluded that, for the period 2018/19 to 2023/24, NHS funding must increase by an annual average of 4% to maintain the ‘status quo’, and 5% to ‘modernise’ the NHS. See table 3.5 on page 86: https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/comms/R143.pdf

- Prime Minister’s ‘world class NHS’ speech: The Prime Minister Theresa May spoke about the future of the NHS at the Royal Free Hospital on 18 June. She committed to a long-term plan for the NHS that “enjoys the support of NHS staff across the country” and delivers “the world-class healthcare that we all want and expect”. The TUC has criticised the Prime Minister for claiming she is committed to a ‘world class’ service, but not providing sufficient funding in the government’s recent announcement to modernise the NHS.

- About the TUC: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.

TUC media contacts:

Alex Rossiter
[email protected]
020 7467 1285
078 8757 2130

TUC press office
[email protected]
020 7467 1248

Media contact for Our NHS is 70:
Ramona McCartney
[email protected]
07933 594080