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Hardly a week has gone by in the past few months without a further blow being delivered to GP training.

First there was deanery budgets ­ slashed last year, and given a miserly increase this time round.

Deaneries were then kept waiting for their money, putting registrar places in jeopardy and causing funding for higher professional education to be slashed.

GP trainers were also given a slap in the face by Department of Health pay review evidence, which rejected an increase in their grant supplement. Meanwhile, the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB) revealed GP registrars could face fees of up to £2,000 to become certified.

Registrars are also being made to wait weeks to get their certificate because of delays at the PMETB. And now the PMETB has changed the rules so that doctors who have done a period of non-standard training, often overseas, will not have to face summative assessment, whereas solely UK-trained doctors will.

Meddling ministers

So what is going wrong? As usual, the meddling mitts of ministers are behind the mess. The Government now believes there is a 'healthy equilibrium' in GP numbers, so GP training has been filed away under 'sorted' and forgotten about.

Then there is the PMETB. Only one month into its working life, a series of problems have emerged when previously there were none.

The PMETB's creation is yet another example of the Government trying to fix something that worked, only to break it.

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