There are 300 vacancies for F1 training posts in England this year after they were oversubscribed in 2014 and 2015, which doctors’ leaders have blamed on the ongoing dispute over the junior doctor contracts.
Health Education England is advertising 300 places for Foundation Year training beginning in July, which were unfilled by graduates from English medical schools.
In the previous two years F1 places were filled in the national recruitment round in March and were even oversubscribed.
It comes as Pulse has revealed that there are still high vacancy rates in GP training across England, with 30% of places unfilled, including more than than 50% of places unfilled in some regions.
HEE has said that the programme had filled its initial allocation.
But the advert reveals that HEE has been running a second round of recruitment for Foundation Year training, which opened on 27 April and closes tomorrow (11 May).
The recruitment process, which is being led by HEE North West, advertises 300 vacancies, although it is unclear where these vacancies are based.
In response to the vacancies, Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said: ‘Adequate staffing levels are vital to deliver safe, high-quality patient care. The fact that a usually oversubscribed programme has seen such a significant decrease in applicants in just one year is of great concern.’
He added that this shortage undermines health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s seven-day NHS policy, and ’threatens patient care in the long-term.’
‘To ensure the NHS continues to attract the next generation of doctors, and retains those who already form the backbone of our health service, the Government must rebuild the trust and morale of future doctors that has been broken down by continuing to devalue an overstretched workforce and with the imposition of a new contract,’ he added.
Health Education England told Pulse: ‘The F1 programme filled its initial allocation, with all eligible medical students graduating in England being placed. Each year we expect vacancies – indeed, this is exactly what we have experienced for various reasons in previous years.’
The latest on the junior doctor contract dispute
Junior Doctor Strike 2016
After the all-out strike a couple of weeks ago, when junior doctors withdrew all care, including urgent and emergency care for the first time in NHS history, the Government announced it was willing to ‘pause’ imposition of the junior doctors’ contract.
In response to this, the BMA have agreed to restart talks with the Government on the contract to work out issues such as Saturday working pay premia.
The junior doctor contract is also facing a judicial review from the BMA as the Government failed to carry out an equality impact assessment before implementing it and a wider ranging judicial review from the Justice for Health group around the legality of the contract imposition.