A recent study revealed that for the first time in the history of the NHS there were more female GPs (25,266) then male GPs (19,675).

An impressive statistic. However, the same study exposed the fact that 10% of all practices in England, around 620, with a total registration of 2.8 million patients of which 1.3 million are women did not have a female GP in attendance. Moreover there are hundreds of additional practices across the country with only one female GP on staff.

What the study underscores is that there are severe shortages of qualified GPs throughout the UK with some Northern areas witnessing even more extreme shortages including shutting down patient access to out of hours services.

What is most worrying is that the current data shows a continuing sustained fall in GP numbers, which in turn is having a negative impact on overall patient services. GPs are not to blame their patient workload is excessive by any reasonable standard, but their patient quota often leads to ridiculous situations. The most vivid illustration of general service deterioration given strict consultation time restrictions, occurred to a female patient who complained about a knee and ankle injury. The GP while sympathetic explained that he could only they can only deal with one complaint at a time.

The new Government has pledged to add 6000 new GPs and additional support staff to the Primacy care sector; it just cannot come soon enough.