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GPs – Current facts and figures – updated June 2021

Facts and figures on General Practitioners (GPs) and Practices

Number of GPs in Northern Ireland

321 GP Practices
1932 GPs on the performers list (excluding doctors in training).
523 Locum (Sessional) doctors.
26 Retainer doctors.
1169 GP Principals (partners).
214 Salaried GPs.

 Number of GP Practice Closures

Since April 2019, there have been six practice closures across Northern Ireland

  • two in the Belfast area
  • four in the South Eastern area

The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) was able to ensure that patients at these GP Practices were reassigned to neighbouring practices.

GP Practice Mergers

Since April 2019, three practices in Belfast voluntarily merged with a neighbouring practice creating three large practices.

Practice mergers can have a significant number of benefits for both GPs and patients as follows:

  • Increased capacity and ability to provide a broader range of services (such as enhanced services)
  • Wider skill mix
  • More partners to share workload and absences
  • Reduction in the risk of sudden termination of GMS contract in the event of a single-handed GP’s death or retirement
  • Potential savings on staff and administrative costs

Retiring GPs

As of June 2021 the HSC Business Service Organisation has been given notice of 8 GPs planning to retire by 31 March 2022.

Four of the GPs planning to retire are part of group practices and it is therefore the responsibility of the practices to recruit a replacement GP.


More useful information

Business Services Organisation, Family Practitioner Service Medical Services