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Independents' Day

Health minister doubts claims of a GP recruitment crisis

Health minister Dr Dan Poulter has said that claims there is a GP recruitment crisis are ‘not necessarily correct’, despite NHS England releasing a £10m ten point plan on boosting recruitment last month.

Speaking in a debate on general practice funding in the House of Commons, Dr Poulter said he didn’t think that the point made that there was ‘a crisis in GP recruitment’ was ‘necessarily correct’.

The three-hour long debate, inspired by RCGP’s Put Patients First campaign, concluded with MPs voting in favour of a motion calling for the health secretary ‘to work with NHS England and the RCGP to secure the financial future of local GP services as a matter of urgency’.

The motion was brought by Labour MP for Halton Derek Twigg and Green Party MP for Brighton Pavillion Caroline Lucas, who argued that the quality of GP services is declining because of a lack of funding relative to other NHS services and there are too few new GPs being trained.

Mr Twigg was talking about how out-of-hours services are organised and the Government’s plan to extend GP opening times to evenings and weekends, when he said: ‘The key thing here is that we haven’t got enough GPs and that is the point we have got to really focus on today.’

However Dr Poulter responded that it was ‘not necessarily correct’ that there was a crisis.

He told Mr Twigg: ‘On the point of long-term workforce planning, and this is an important point. Very clear, that if the honorable member is raising the fact that there is suddenly a crisis in GP recruitment, something that I don’t think is necessarily correct, that actually if the previous Government was actually serious about investing in general practice it should have trained a lot more GPs than it did.’

It comes as Pulse revealed in December that GP training is in turmoil with ‘one application for every four roles’ and as the Government launched a £10 million ten-point plan to boost recruitment and retention of GPs just last week.

The RCGP’s Put Patients First campaign has been petitioning for general practice to receive at least 11% of total NHS funding.



Readers' comments (43)

  • Dr Poulter is deluded. Or mendacious. Or both.

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  • T Roscoe

    if there is no shortage of GPs in Nottinghamshire then why did I offer £12,000 per session, £7k golden hellow and up to 10% performance related bonus for a salaried GP and get NO applicants.

    For a full time GP this is equivalent to £125,000 per annum

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  • The real crisis will start from 1st April this year, when many older GPs will retire

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  • i'm sure everything will start to get better ;

    1) the 1.5 trillion debt has been paid off
    2) all the difficult elements of austerity cuts have been completed
    3) all the hard savings on the NHS have been made - just the low hanging easy stuff left
    4) morale is at an all time high
    5) GPs are falling over to avoid retirement
    6) medical students are queuing up to be GPs
    7) GPs feel valued
    8) expenses are going down
    9) pay has been going up for the last few years that I'm going to donate my earnings to Wayne Rooney to help him out
    10) Gps are all going to vote conservative
    11) i live in a house made of chocolate and have pixies in the garden

    everything is fine

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  • 'All is for the best in the best of all possible world's'

    Dr Pangloss

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  • That's it. I'm leaving this stinking country.

    Had another Email this morning offering me work in Australia or New Zealand .

    I'm off

    Suck my little pinky you total txxt

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  • Took Early Retirement

    I'm firmly with Nye Bevan on this:-

    "No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin".

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  • Took Early Retirement

    e-mail him at

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  • Ones senses a growing recognition that General Practice is in difficulty within the Department of Health. Very interestingly hostile articles on GPs in the Daily Mail seem to have suddenly reduced. The attack dogs have been called off temporarily it seems. Nauseating abuse of power.

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  • His parents did not teach him to be truthful, pity!

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