About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland provides information on the General Practitioner (GP) workforce contracted to work in Scottish practices in the years 2011 to 2021. It includes information about the number of GP practices and profile of patients registered.

Main points

As at 30 September 2021:

  • The headcount of GPs in Scotland is 5,195. This is a rise of 74 GPs compared to last year.
  • This rise is predominantly in female GPs, who now make up 61% of GPs in Scotland.
Image caption Trend in Number (Headcount) of GPs in Scotland by Sex, 2011-2021, as at 30 September 2021
  • Prior to 2018, the headcount of GPs had remained fairly constant at around 4,900 since 2011.
  • After 2018, the number of male GPs levelled out while the number of female GPs increased. This resulted in an increase of 209 GPs from 2018 to 2021. 
  • 31% of all GPs are aged 50 and over, down from a high of 34% in 2013.

The most recent estimate for whole time equivalent of GPs can be found in the General Practice Workforce Survey 2019 which estimated that there were 3,613 GP whole time equivalents (WTE) in Scotland in 2019

As at 1 October 2021:

  • The number of patients registered with GP practices continues to rise slowly year on year and has increased by 5% since 2011.
  • The number of patients aged 65 and over has increased by 21% since 2011.
  • The number of practices in Scotland decreased by 8% from 1,007 to 922 practices since 2011, reflecting a trend towards fewer, larger practices.

Background

This publication presents data on the General Practitioner (GP) workforce contracted to work in Scottish practices in the years 2011 to 2021. Data is broken down at NHS Board and local authority level, by age, gender and designation (external website) (type of GP).

Information is also presented on the number of patients registered with GP practices between 2011 and 2021, broken down at NHS Board and local authority level, by age group and practice type.

Note that GP workforce information is only available as a headcount; an estimate of the whole time equivalent GPs for 2019 can be found in the General Practice Workforce Survey 2019.

GP headcounts in this report do not include GPs who work only as locums, who work purely in Out of Hours services, or who are in the early stages of GP training.

For workforce information on all medical staff employed directly by the NHS, please see the NHSScotland Workforce Publications (external website).

Further information

Find out more in the full report. The data from this publication – along with background information and glossary – is available to download from the data files section at the top of this page.

For more information on Primary Care in Scotland see the General Practice section of our website (external website) 

The next release of this publication will be December 2022.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.generalpractice@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 13 June 2022
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