Responding to the latest NHS Digital GP workforce stats, Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:
"We have 340 fewer full-time equivalent GPs than we did a year ago, and more than 1,000 fewer than we did in 2015. These numbers are going in the wrong direction - this is disappointing, it is serious and we need to see drastic action taken to reverse this trend.
"We do have more people training to be a GP than ever before, which is encouraging news for the future, but we need to see detailed plans as to how we're going to retain our existing workforce. For too many GPs, escalating workload means that the job is not do-able and as a result highly-trained and experienced GPs are burning out and leaving earlier in their career than they planned. That's not right, and it's not safe, and it is something that the future government, whatever its make-up, needs to tackle as a priority.
"Ahead of the General Election, we are calling on all political parties to ensure general practice receives 11% of the overall NHS budget right across the UK; deliver at least 5,000 more GPs, more members of the wider practice team, and modern, digitally-enabled GP practices; and guarantee 5,000 GP training places a year. This would give GPs and our teams the support we need to do our jobs properly so that we can continue to provide safe and high-quality care to our patients, well into the future."