GP networks in England have made just under 1,000 hires via the additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS) over the last three months, new NHS data indicates.
The quarterly figures, published by NHS Digital, show that 19,229 ARRS staff were working in general practices as of June 2022, up from 18,290 in March.
It also indicates that hiring increase for all roles under the scheme – except for paramedics where there was a decrease of six. The greatest increase is seen among advanced practitioners, the newest tranche of professionals to be covered by ARRS, more than doubling from 328 to 675.
The number of social prescribing link workers working in practices also grew by 135 to 2,662: the second largest increase.
This comes after NHS England last week announced the ‘rapid recruitment’ of up to 2,000 additional social prescribing link workers, health coaches and care coordinators among measures to alleviate GP pressures this winter.
Commenting on the figures, health and social care secretary Steve Barclay said: ‘We are over half way to delivering our manifesto commitment of having 26,000 more primary care staff by March 2024 – with over 19,000 more staff working across primary care settings to care for patients with complex needs. This is helping to reduce pressure on GPs and helping to improve access to appointments.
‘I recognise the pressures staff face and I am hugely grateful to GPs and their teams – including nurses, dentists, physiotherapists – who act as the first port of call for patients needing medical advice.
‘We have provided £520 million to improve patient access and expand GP capacity during the pandemic, on top of the previously announced £1.5 billion to fund general practice recruitment and retention schemes.’
However, the latest GP workforce data indicated that there were 27,558 FTE fully qualified GPs working in June 2022, as many as 442 (1.6%) fewer than in June 2021.