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Deaneries are still waiting to get their budgets from the Government. The delay is hampering planning for the future of GP training and preventing any expansion of places to match a massive increase in applicants.

Applicants outnumbered places by four to one in the August recruitment round, leaving thousands of potential GPs unable to take up posts.

Professor Pat Lane, director of postgraduate GP education at the South Yorkshire and South Humber deanery, said it was still waiting for its budget.

He said: 'If the funding had been announced in March we would have known in August what we would have been providing in the whole year.'

Dr Arthur Hibble, director of GP postgraduate education at the Eastern deanery, said the problem was 'true of the whole of England'.

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