Increasing the number of GPs will reduce the number of premature deaths and also ‘improve population health’, a new study has found.
The authors of the study, published in BMJ Open, performed a cross-sectional analysis of 7,858 GP practices in England, and considered premature death ratios against population characteristics – such as deprivation and smoking – and primary care factors including the number of GPs and GP access – to identify what influences premature deaths.
Higher numbers of GPs were negatively associated with premature mortality and the researchers claim that recruiting 8,500 more GPswould prevent more than 1,000 premature deaths across England.
The researchers also added that boosting the GP workforce would help to improve hypertension detection – another factor that was associated with premature mortality.
An increase in hypertension detection by just 1% was associated with a prevention of over 1,200 premature deaths in England and the researchers said that: ‘Levels of detection of hypertension have been shown to be associated with the supply of GPs and patient access.’
‘An increase in the numbers of GPs is required, therefore, not only to improve the convenience of access but also to improve population health.’