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GP registrar numbers predicted to slump

General practice faces a manpower crisis with the number of future registrars set to slump following cuts to their pay, the BMA is warning.

Supplements paid to GP registrars are to fall from 55% to 50% of basic salary for those entering training placements after April 2008, as part of the package recommended by the pay review body last week and accepted by ministers.

NHS Employers had called for the move to align pay with other trainees.

But the BMA said the number of GP registrars had already fallen by 11.2% in 2006 – the most significant reduction for over a decade. Calculations on the decrease in the GP registrar supplement recommended in the last Doctors and Dentists Review Body report showed total pay would fall by £1,580-£2,501 between 2006 and 2007.

The DDRB review said GP registrars received a substantial supplement despite a less intense working pattern than hospital doctors, and that it was therefore ‘appropriate that the supplement for GP registrars again be adjusted downwards'.

Dr Andrew Thomson, past-chair of the GPC registrar subcommittee and a locum GP in Tayside, said the cut came at a time of spiralling costs for GP registrars. ‘It's a significant disincentive to training for a career in general practice.

‘It's a very worrying time for general practice as a whole and means trainees are not confident about their future and whether they have made the right decision.'

He added that in a few years' time the profession would be back to the situation it was in previously of not having enough new recruits.

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