Only 108 GPs were recruited in the second half of 2015/16 in England, according to the latest official figures.
In an “experimental” report from NHS Digital, it was revealed that the number of practices went down by 61 between 30 September 2015 and 31 March 2016.
Furthermore, the number of GPs excluding registrars, retainers and locums decreased by eight in the same time period.
The Government previously claimed in 2014 that it would increase the number of GPs by 5,000 by 2020.
Earlier this week, Professor Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners urged the Department of Health to focus on retaining the current workforce as well as recruitment to meet this goal.
Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee deputy chair said the figures illustrate the “woefully inadequate progress” that has been made towards higher recruitment figures.
He said: “The government is simply not on course to recruit the extra 5,000 GPs it promised at the last election.
“Large areas of the country are still facing shortages in staff which combined with falling budgets have left many GP practices struggling to provide even basic care to their patients.
“It is vital that the government urgently implements its promises to properly invest in general practice so that we can recruit and retain enough GPs to deliver the service the public deserves.”
These are the first official GP workforce statistics to be released since NHS England and Health Education England put in place a 10-point plan to boost GP recruitment.
The figures also show that the number of practices has fallen by 61 in the last six months of 2015/16 to 7,613.
The number of non-clinical staff, including practice managers, saw a 0.7% increase with 625 people joining the workforce.
The nursing workforce, however, saw a larger gain of 2.3% with 355 nurses taking up the role.
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