A Department of Health spokesperson said:
"These figures represent less than 1 per cent of the total number of GP practices in England — it has always been the case that a small number open, close, or merge over time. What's important is that patients continue to get access to the services they need — so NHS England has specific responsibility to make sure that happens. We are reforming GP services to make it easier for people to get the care they need 7 days a week and at a time and a place to suit them.”
· The GP closures figures include practices which have merged together with other practices, which could be for a variety of reasons.
· In February the Health Secretary will give further detail of the support and investment in general practice to maintain the profession as the jewel in the crown of our NHS — working with NHS England, HEE, the RCGP and the GPC, including announcing further steps to increase the GP workforce, including incentives to help keep GPs in the profession and address areas with specific workforce shortages.
· We have committed to deliver 5000 more doctors in general practice by 2020; including a new marketing campaign to attract the best and brightest medical students to the profession including a successful national marketing campaign — led by HEE in partnership with the RCGP — promoting the profession to university students and on social media; as well as more support for those who wish to return to the profession and developing specialist training opportunities to help attract doctors from other specialties into the profession. Since that time we have seen an increase in medical students applying to general practice.
· Spending on health continues to grow, with a £10 billion real terms increase in NHS funding in England between 2014-15 and 2020-21, of which £6 billion will be delivered by the end of 2016-17.
· In February we will announce further investment for the profession, building on the £1 billion already committed to improving GP facilities and technology, as well as investments in strategic developments in primary care like national workforce initiatives over this Parliament and the £175million in two waves of the Prime Minister's GP Access Fund schemes to test innovative ways of improving access to GP services.
· By working together to provide a seven day primary care service we can treat people sooner and stop them from having to resort to A&E to get the care they need when they need it.
· We've already reduced the Quality and Outcomes Framework by more than a third and NHS England are investing £10m to expand the GP workforce and working on a range of further initiatives to reduce bureaucracy and workload.