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Independents' Day

Record numbers of GP training places accepted

The number of GP trainee places that have been accepted has beaten the annual target for a second consecutive year.

Health Education England (HEE) has reported that 3,538 GP trainees have been accepted in the past year, beating the annual target of 3,250. This is the highest trainee acceptance rate in the history of the NHS, according to HEE. 

Earlier this year, it was reported that the NHS workforce could face a shortfall of 7,000 GPs by 2023/24, according to the Health Foundation.

Professor Ian Cumming, chief executive, Heath Education England said: ’This is very welcome news. We have done a great deal of work to promote general practice as a rewarding career, and this increase in acceptances demonstrates the work is paying off.

’The NHS Long Term Plan is very clear that patient care needs to be delivered closer to home wherever possible, and that’s why this expansion is so important, and why we have made this one of our key priorities. We’re committed to creating new roles, such as nursing associates and physician associates, as well as expanding existing training routes, and redesigning the way we deliver 21st century care to patients across the country.’

Health secretary Matt Hancock said the government was creating 1,500 undergraduate medical school places and investing primary and community care with an extra £4.5 billion by 2023/24.

He added: ‘Our NHS would be nothing without the GPs who deliver crucial frontline care to patients every day, so I am delighted to welcome the highest ever number of GP trainees into the NHS family.’

Professor Wendy Reid, director of education and quality and national medical director at HEE, said there were now thousands more doctors in the system thanks to series of initiatives to market general practice as a rewarding career choice.

She added: ‘Our work with partners including the RCGP around raising the profile and attractiveness of general practice as a career is helping to boost the number of trainees who want to join this key specialty.’

One future scheme to make general practice more attractive is the promotion of portfolio careers as outlined in NHS interim workforce plan.

And there is still concern over the retention of GPs and the number of hours they work.

A recent report by the GMC found that almost a third of GPs had reduced their hours in the past year and 10% intended to take a break from practising medicine over the next year.


Readers' comments (7)

  • Vinci Ho

    Fine , I would have any doubt that HEE is working very hard to increase the number of GP trainees in the forthcoming years and at least , the official number is going up .
    But where are these GP trainees going potentially after they have completed the training ? I would like to see the statistics, especially a ‘conversion rate’ , if ever existed, into full time equivalent frontline GPs .
    Remember Second Law of Thermodynamics?
    Entropy is a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system's thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system.
    "the second law of thermodynamics says that entropy always increases with time"

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  • Vinci Ho

    I would not have any doubt .....

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  • First area to scrutinise is: what is the percentage of trainees achieving CCT?

    Anecdotally, my experience and that of other local trainers is that the rate of dropout from GP training and failure has never been higher.

    There is little to cheer about if those extra entrants never qualify.

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  • DrRubbishBin

    If everyone is going to be working part time, because the work is so intense and the risk of burnout so acute, you need to count each trainee as half a GP if you really want to get an idea of how many GPs you are training

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  • so probably 1500 WTE then, thats if they stay in the uk once qualified.

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  • Where's Optimus?

    Are they being attracted to general practice or running away from hospital specialisms?
    The grass is greener ....
    where you water it more..

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  • They have no idea what their getting themselves into, I feel sorry for them

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