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GP trainee recruitment target surpassed for first time, announces Hancock

Health education bosses have recruited record numbers of GP trainees, surpassing their target of 3,250 for the first time, the health secretary has announced.

Speaking at the Best Practice conference, health secretary Matt Hancock said that nearly 3,500 GP trainees have been recruited, above the 3,250 target and 10% more than last year.

This comes after health education bosses said in June that they expected to hit the target - set for 2015 by former health secretary Andrew Lansley - for the first time this year.

Last year, Health Education England recruited only 3,157 GP trainees after two rounds of recruitment.

But in his keynote speech in Birmingham today, Matt Hancock said: 'We have a record number of GPs in training. This year we recruited 3,473 trainees, against a target of 3,250. So we beat our target and it is a 10% increase on last year.'

Mr Hancock added that NHS England are on track to increase the number of other staff working in general practice by 5,000 by 2020/21, with 3,000 already recruited since 2015.

He said: 'Today there are 41,360 GPs working in England but too many GPs are retiring early or opting to work part-time, and this makes the challenge of increasing the number of GPs even greater.

'We have set a goal of getting 5,000 more doctors into general practice, and we must reach it.'

Earlier this month, Mr Hancock admitted that he is in talks with NHS bosses about setting a new date for the target of recruiting an extra 5,000 GPs in England.

He added that the profession needs a 'culture shift' so that GPs are valued more.

'Being a general practitioner should have the same prestige as being a consultant or a surgeon, because GPs are the bedrock of the NHS,' he said.

He also said that the NHS needs to explore new business models like mutuals - a model which sees its clients own part of the business - although he explained that he is not attached to any one model but is ‘attracted to any model that benefits primary care staff and patients’.

HEE has previously said that there were ongoing discussions over increasing the target number of GP trainees recruited every year in England.

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GP committee executive team workforce lead, said the GP trainee numbers are 'welcome' but added that 'new GPs take 10 years to train, and without urgent action and investment... more doctors will leave the profession'.

He added: 'While the health secretary again promises an extra 5,000 GPs in the workforce, the Government continues to push the deadline for achieving this back as overall numbers dwindle...While the news on recruitment is very welcome, there is still more work to be done on retention.'

HEE national medical director Professor Wendy Reid said: 'This is great news for the NHS and for patients who will benefit from our continued investment in GP training through a wide range of initiatives and programmes to keep the training numbers growing year on year.'

Readers' comments (15)

  • Well that's an absolute yawn!

    Trainees are supranummery till qualified and will be a few years away anyway, also assumes they stay in GP land or more likely they see the light and clear off.

    Doesn't do anything for the here and now!

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  • THE DAILY NUTTER-THE MOUTHPIECE OF THE TORIES WILL SEIZE ON THIS AS PROOF OF THE GENIUS OF THE TORIES-THERE SEEMS TO BE MORE RUBBISH AND SPIN SPOON-FED TO THE PUBLIC THAN COUNTRIES LIKE RUSSIA.

    THESE "NEW DOCTORS" WHEN QUALIFIED WILL:

    A. LEAVE THE UK FOR A BETTER LIFE
    B. LOCUM OR WORK IN HUBS FOR BIG MONEY (AND MUCH LESS RESPONSIBILITY)
    C. WORK IN A PRACTICE 1 DAY PER WEEK-AND BECAUSE IT IS ALL TOO MUCH, LOCUM OR WORK IN HUBS FOR BIG MONEY

    WITHOUT GP PARTNERS AND SERIOUS GRAFTERS, GENERAL PRACTICE WILL COLLAPSE.

    EITHER THE GOVERNMENT ARE MAD OR CORRUPT BUT I STILL CAN'T DECIDE WHICH

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  • Both LMS but you need to add incompetent as well.

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  • Doctor McDoctor Face

    Good news in some ways but it isn't for the love of General Practice its for the hate of dire hospital medicine.

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  • I suspect most will leave for greener pastures without worries of being treated like someone who intentionally stabs another when things gets missed or when it becomes too busy.

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  • Doctor McDoctor Face @ 12.03pm.

    With unerring accuracy, you have shown the nails head who is boss with your comment. I agree fully.

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  • How on earth did the hee do it? ....part time not fte, and hate of hospital, and in any case these are still supernumerary.

    Why on earth did the candidates do it? ... to get out of the hospital system and go Part time or emigrate.

    Absolutely zilch (save threats) about how to increase retention..

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  • Julian sat in his chair using the portatelescreen and realised that once again the ministry of truth had excelled themselves. Production of GPs was reportedly up from 143 million per year to 157 per year and yet most of the proles walked around barefoot.

    Julian pondered why the funk he was sitting on a train leaving the South of France to come back to Air Strip One to further discuss GP production. His doublethink was becoming unbearable.

    With apologies to George Orwell - but none for duckspeakers in the ministry of truth.

    Remember - Matt Hancock is watching you

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  • Lets us wonder how many experience front-line working GPs we are down by in the last 3 months.Are we continuing at losing 500 every 3 months?

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  • You cannot fill the bath without putting in the plug Mr Handcock.

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