Almost one-third of GP training places remain vacant after the first round of recruitment, official figures today reveal.
The final figures after the first round of recruitment for August 2016 showed that 2,296 of places were filled across the UK – 70% of all places.
This represents an increase of 152 filled places on the same stage of recruitment last year, when 69% of the training roles were filled.
Despite this increase, general practice has the second highest percentage of positions vacant, after psychiatry.
The RCGP said that it was ‘excellent news’, and was testament to the efforts made to encourage people into the profession.
It comes after Pulse revealed that the original vacancy figure published by health education bosses was incorrect (see box, below).
The latest figures give the final total of GP training places filled after the first round of recruitment, alongside the fill rates for other specialties.
It showed that core surgical training managed to fill all its 500 posts, while six other specialties filled all their places.
The only specialty with a lower fill rate than general practice was psychiatry, which filled 67% of its 280 posts.
RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said: ’This is a vote of confidence in GPs and the future of general practice – and excellent news for our patients who will ultimately benefit.
’We hope this will be the start of a turning tide. It is a testament to the sterling work of our faculties, practising GPs and university GP societies who are going all out to promote our fantastic profession and illustrate to future generations what an exciting, challenging and stimulating career being a GP can be.
’Today’s announcement also shows that the 10 point plan launched last year by the College, NHS England, Health Education England and the BMA is having a positive and very tangible impact.’
How Pulse reported errors in the GP training vacancy rates
Pulse revealed last week that Health Education England’s original figures contained errors, having wrongly shown a large increase in the number of trainees taking up positions.
Figures published on the GP National Recruitment Office website intially seemed to show that the North East region – where it has been notoriously hard to fill training places – had almost fully recruited for the August 2016 GP training intake.
But HEE admitted these figures were incorrect, and in fact 100 of the 192 places in the region were unfilled.
The figures are the first following the campaign by HEE to encourage people to go in to general practice, which involved an advert featuring a GP signing a consent form for a patient to go skydiving.