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General medical practitioners (GP)

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  • Release date: 26 April 2018
  • Period covered: 2006 to 2017
  • Next update: 27 March 2019
An annual report which Includes information on the number of registered patients and workforce age distribution.

A number of data quality issues have been identified with the source data for this report. Full details are provided in the statistical report. It is advised that the numbers presented in this report are treated with caution.

The number of GP practitioners in Wales fell between 2016 and 2017, but was largely offset by an increase in GP locums. However data quality issues mean that the fall in GP practitioners is likely to be overstated. Overall the total number of GPs (including locums, registrars and retainers) was very similar to the number in 2016.

Key points

  • There were 1,926 GP practitioners in 2017, 83 (or 4.1%) less than in 2016, however an alternative source suggests this fall may be as few as 26.
  • There were 754 GP locums in 2017, 70 (or 10.2%) more than in 2016 continuing the trend of increasing numbers of GP locums.
  • There were 239 GP registrars (GP trainees) in 2017, up 7 from 2016.
  • A more complete measure of GPs is to include all GP practitioners, locums, retainers and registrars. In total there were 2,936 in 2017, 8 fewer than 2016 (0.3 per cent).
  • Additional analysis shows that of the 212 GP practitioners leaving the workforce between 2016 and 2017, just over half re-joined as a GP locum. Therefore the leavers figures should not be used as those no longer working as a GP.
  • GP practices are becoming fewer in number, but are tending to have more GPs per practice.
  • The trend of a growing female GP practitioner workforce has continued.


The number of staff directly employed by the NHS at 30 September 2017 was published on 28 March 2018.


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