The number of GP practices has fallen by 6.7% in England during the past ten years, official figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show.
However, the number of registered patients to a practice has grown from 5,753 in 2001 to 6,651 in 2011, with the number of patients to practitioner falling by 12.2% to 1,582 last year.
There was a small increase in the number of GPs in 2010 (0.9%), taking the total up to 39,780 – this represents a 25% rise in GPs during the past decade, with an average annual increase of 2.3%.
Figures show a 66% rise in the female GP headcount (16,285), of which 67.5% are salaried GPs.
"The rise in the number of patients per practice reflects the move towards larger practices employing more GPs," said the HCIC report.
"Average practice list size varies between 5,754 in the North West and 8,609 in South Central as compared with the national average of 6,651 and London's lower 5,789."
Findings also show the number of salaried GPs in England has rocketed by 896.6% from 2001, from 864 to 8,585.
The centre attributed the rise to the "growing tendency" to work in general practice for a salary since the introduction of the new GP contract in 2004.