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‘70% of training places unfilled’ in certain rural areas

Training programmes in parts of Somerset have only filled 30% of their training places after the second round of recruitment according to local GP leaders.

Speaking at the annual LMCs Conference in London today, Somerset LMC representative Dr Tim Horlock told delegates that in his region that changes to application processes this year had made it harder for rural areas to recruit.

As part of the changes to boost GP recruitment in 2016, Health Education England allowed practices to express geographical preferences at a more detailed level.

This means trainees now apply for a GP programme, such as Coventry, or Warwickshire, rather than a region, like West Midlands.

But Dr Horlock said this has made the pressures on recruitment to areas without ‘cities or league football teams’ even more acute.

He told delegates: ‘Almost 100% of people who are employed locally have been trainees, locally. Now things have been centralised, and it has not gone well for us. After round 2 we’ve only filled 30% of our training places, despite the quality of training being excellent.

‘I feel that the centralisation of allocation means that small places, with unmemorable names, no cities, or no football teams in the league anywhere, who are already struggling to recruit have been denied the trainees that give us a glimmer of hope for the future.’

HEE also introduced £20,000 bursaries to train in underdoctored areas.

Official figures revealed that 30% of training places remain unfilled after the first round of GP training recruitment.