Why is GP training in the news?
Pulse revealed in June that there had been a 4% decrease in the number of GP training posts filled in England, with some regions facing shortfalls of 40% in the number of training posts filled.
Following an unprecedented third round of recruitment, an extra 124 training posts were filled – representing 88% of all posts. This was an increase of 1% from the posts filled before the third round.
What are the implications of this?
Health Education England has been tasked with increasing the number of graduates beginning GP training to 3,250 per year by 2016, which was extended from 2015 earlier this year.
This August, only 2,564 medical graduates entered general practice in England.
GPs have warned that a failure to increase the number of graduates will exacerbate a recruitment crisis, which is seeing practices waiting longer than a year to recruit partners.
All the major political parties have also based their health strategies around increasing the number of GPs being trained so they can move care from hospitals to the community and increase GP access.
What was done about the issue in the short term?
Alongside the third round of recruitment, HEE has implemented a ‘pre-GP training year’ in some areas, which will give trainees who failed to pass the assessments for entering GP training this year to gain a year’s experience in secondary care to improve their chances of passing next year.
However, GP leaders have said that the main reason behind this is to fill secondary care rotas, as GP trainees usually fill the rotas but the shortfall in trainee numbers have left gaps.
What is being done in the long term?
A report was commissioned by the Government from a taskforce led by GP education heads.
It recommended a capping of secondary care training positions in order to boost GP trainee numbers, and that practices should be offered grants of £20,000 to create space in their premises to take on more trainee but HEE has not yet responded on how it will implement the proposals.