Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Large towns have more patients per GP than cities, analysis shows

(Anthony Devlin/PA)
(Anthony Devlin/PA)

Surgeries in large towns in England have a higher number of patients per GP than those in cities or small built-up areas, while there is a sharp difference between places with high and low levels of deprivation, analysis shows.

South-west England has the lowest number of patients per fully qualified doctor while London has the highest – although all regions have seen a “steady rise” in recent years.

The figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that across England there were 1,720 patients per doctor at GP practices in October – down from 1,800 four years ago.

But when trainees and locums are excluded from the total, the number of patients per fully qualified family doctor has risen from 2,120 to 2,260.

“This suggests that there are more trainee doctors and fewer fully qualified GPs now than in 2018,” the ONS said.

Less populated areas tend to have fewer patients per GP compared with more urban areas, the analysis shows.

Large towns had the highest number of patients per fully qualified doctor, at 2,400, while cities – excluding London – had 2,290.

However, medium and small towns had 2,280 and 2,100 patients per GP respectively, and small built-up areas of fewer than 5,000 people had the lowest at 1,950.

(PA Graphics)

At a regional level, London had the most patients per fully qualified GP (2,450) while the South West had the fewest (1,980).

“There has been a steady rise in the number of patients per qualified GP in all regions of England, although the increase was smallest in the South West,” the ONS said.

GP practices serving patients in less deprived areas tended to have fewer patients per GP than those in more deprived areas.

There were 2,370 patients per fully qualified doctor in areas with the highest levels of income deprivation, compared with 2,070 in areas with the lowest levels.

There were also fewer patients per fully qualified doctor in practices with the highest proportion of people aged 65 and over (1,980) compared with practices with the lowest proportion (2,620).

It is likely that “a combination of factors” influence the number of patients per GP, including funding available to practices and changes in local areas such as new housing developments, the ONS added.

“The average age of patients tends to be linked to the type of area they live in. There is evidence that suggests elderly people are more likely to live in affluent, rural areas, compared with younger people who are more likely to live in areas of higher deprivation and population levels.”