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Independents' Day

Slight increase in GP training posts taken up, official figures reveal

Around 83% of GP training posts have been filled in England, official figures have revealed, the first time in three years that there has been an increase in GP trainees recruited at this stage. 

Health Education England have said that 2,691 of its 3,250 places have been filled after two rounds of recruitment – an 83% fill rate.

The total number of places filled is a 7% increase on the 2,513 places filled at the same stage last year. It is the first time since 2013 that the figures at this stage have shown an increase on the previous year.

But HEE is still way off its target to train 3,250 GPs a year by August this year - a target which was itself moved back from 2015.

It had seemed there were nine in ten GP training places filled across the UK after two rounds of recruitment, after HEE revealed the number of vacancies for each region. However, its official figures have shown that these initial estimates were optimistic.

The latest figures do not show the number of places filled in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. However, there are still 101 vacancies being advertised in Scotland - 31% of the 325 positions in total. It is a similar situation in Wales, with 32% of the 136 positions still being advertised.

Some areas in England are also struggling, including the North East region where 40% of places remained unfilled.

They do remain an improvement on figures from earlier this year when the numbers of applications for GP training tumbled five percentage points on the year before, while only 70% of places across the UK were filled following round 1 of recruitment.

It follows a range of efforts to boost recruitment, perhaps most notably providing £20,000 bursaries for doctors to train as a GP in under-doctored areas like Blackpool and Lincolnshire.



Readers' comments (4)

  • Do the other colleges scrape the bottom of the barrel as many times as possible just to fill places? The reality is juniors know what a rubbish job it is and have some self respect hence the best and brightest are running a mile. RCGP don't care about quality, I suspect most of the 'College' don't really see patients anymore. It's about the money. Just put GP in NHS out of it's misery.

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  • Maybe this year owning a stethoscope was sufficient to get a place, hence increase in places filled (standards as low as possible please) or maybe that inspiring video, or Maureen's rousing words. Maybe a quick way to get out of the U.K.? It's only our countries that think so little of UK GPs.

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  • Despite "this year owning a stethoscope was sufficient to get a place" and bribes of 20000 pounds - they were still unable to fill all available places, with speaking English fluently barely an afterthought in the awarding of places.

    If we are not careful we will have another cohort of doctors who are unable to reach the minimum standards expected at the end of training and just line the coffers of the RCGP with multiple CSA fails.

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  • Danger is those places filled - are no guarantee of GPs out - with many not interested in full time work, or partnerships or even salaried roles.

    Many just want to locum, or work abroad, if at all.

    No disrespect intended for our excellent female colleagues, but many female trainees are just planning their maternity breaks around training contracts with 2-3 children popping out and then limited scope/interest in returning to the daily grind that is now primary care.

    With the discrepancy towards more female to male GP trainees, there is a serious lack of exiting GPs willing to work full time to replace those retiring.

    In even leafy suburbs around London recruiting replacement partners and even salaried posts at high pay is proving impossible despite JH making staying in hospitals for juniors seriously unpleasant.

    Even with disenchanted Juniors, the shift to GP was minimal - interesting times ahead.

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