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Hutton in U-turn on registrars

The Department of Health has pledged no GP registrar places will be cut after carrying out a remarkable U-turn on plans to shave £100 million off training budgets.

Less than three hours after the GPC condemned the proposed cutbacks as 'devastating, shortsighted and illogical', health minister John Hutton promised to top up the training allocations to strategic health authorities to ensure no places would be lost.

The original plans to cut the medical and dental education levy would have stripped dozens of GP registrars of promised training places for the autumn.

Worst-hit areas would have been London, where at least 64 places were to be axed, and Yorkshire.

The Department of Health had told GP trainers in London it had already reached its target of recruiting 2,000 new GPs and that the capital was in danger of becoming 'over-doctored'. But Mr Hutton said places 'we not in jeopardy'.

GPC chair Dr John Chis-holm welcomed the 'positive, sensitive and rapid' change of heart.

He said: 'The intention is it should be enough. We will be liaising with deaneries and the RCGP to make sure ministers' intentions are carried through.'

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