Determinants of primary care workforce variation in England

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BACKGROUND: The General Practice Forward View (GPFV) outlined how the government plans to attain a strengthened model of general practice. A key component of this proposal is an expansion of the workforce by employing a varied range of practitioners, in other words 'skill mix'. A significant proportion of this investment focuses on increasing the number of 'new' roles such as clinical pharmacists, physiotherapists, physician associates, and paramedics. AIM: The aim of this study is to examine what practice characteristics are associated with the current employment of these 'new' roles. METHOD: The study uses practice level workforce data (2015-2019), publicly available from NHS Digital. The authors model FTE of specific workforce groups (for example, advanced nurse) as a function of deprivation, practice rurality, patient demographics (total list size and percentage of patients aged >65 years) and FTEs from other staff groups. RESULTS: Although analysis is ongoing, initial estimation suggests that the employment of 'new' roles has occurred in larger practices (in terms of list size), in practices with a higher proportion of patients living in deprived areas and practices with a larger proportion of patients aged >65 years. FTE for advanced nurses is negatively associated with GP FTE. CONCLUSION: A negative correlation between advanced nurse FTE and GP FTE is potentially suggestive of substitution between roles, deliberate or otherwise. For example, practices may employ 'new' roles if they are unable to recruit GPs or they may recruit staff to free up GP time. Further work is needed to confirm these findings and to explore the reasons behind practice employment decisions.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2020