Increasing the number of GPs in England by 6,000 by 2025 was one of the commitments to improve the NHS Boris Johnson repeatedly made in the election campaign.
Labour accused Javid of having “casually dropped” the pledge.
“It is staggering that Javid has abandoned Boris Johnson’s key election promise to recruit 6,000 extra GPs”, said Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary.
The British Medical Association said unmanageably heavy workloads were prompting growing numbers of experienced doctors to quit.
“The latest workforce figures for England show that we have lost the equivalent of more than 1,800 full-time, fully qualified GPs since 2015, despite pledges to increase numbers by 6,000”, said Dr Richard Vautrey, the chair of the BMA’s GPs committee.
“The bottom line is we are haemorrhaging doctors in general practice. While more younger doctors may be choosing to enter general practice, even more experienced GPs are leaving the profession or reducing their hours to manage unsustainable workloads.”
He blamed the growing numbers taking early retirement on the government’s failure to include measures to relieve the pressure on GP surgeries in its recent plan to guarantee in-person consultations for patients who want one.
“A failure to show any meaningful support for GPs or efforts to retain experienced doctors – something completely absent in the government’s recent ‘rescue plan’ that has been overwhelmingly rejected by the profession – ultimately impacts how easy it is for patients to access their GP practice.”