NHS success as GP target hit three months early

The
NHS has hit its GP recruitment target three months ahead of schedule, according
to new figures.

GP
numbers have increased by 2,131 since 1999, exceeding the NHS Plan target for
2,000 more GPs by March 2004. There are now 30,598 GPs working in the NHS.

The
figures, published in a mini-census of NHS GPs and consultants, also show that
the number of consultants has increased. There are now 29,217 consultants
working in the NHS, up from 23,321 in 1999.

Health
secretary John Reid said: "These figures are good news, but we are
determined to do more."

Reid
said he was delighted with the GP figures, but disappointed that the number of
consultants are not on track for the end of March target.

"We
will recruit more consultants as we promised in the NHS plan, but it may take a
little longer than expected," he said.

By Quentin Reade

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