Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”Right now, there are almost 2,000 more doctors working in general practice than in 2019″

PM Rishi Sunak, The Sun


During a visit to an NHS hospital, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told reporters that “right now, there are almost 2,000 more doctors working in general practice than in 2019.”

According to NHS Digital’s figures, the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) roles rose from about 34,520 in December 2019 to around 36,430 in March 2023; an increase of 1,910. 

But as Full Fact points out, this increase has been fuelled by a sharp rise in the number of trainee GPs. In December 2019, some 6,390 of the total number of FTE roles were GP trainees, and this climbed to 9,120 in March 2023; an increase of about 2,730.

Full Fact goes on to explain how some health experts, including the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), advise against including trainees when counting the total number of GPs, as trainees are expected to have dedicated education time and may carry out fewer and longer appointments than a qualified colleague. These appointments may also be supervised by fully qualified GPs, who will then not be able to see as many patients themselves.  

NHS Digital’s most recent general practice workforce data shows that the number of FTE fully qualified GPs fell from 28,129 in December 2019 to 27,306 in March 2023, a drop of 823. 


As so often Rishi Sunak was being selective in his use of statistics.

We emailed Rishi Sunak’s office and Number 10 offering him the chance to respond. The email was received, but no reply. 

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