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GPC accuses health education leaders of ‘burying’ report on GP training

Exclusive The GPC has accused health education leaders of ‘burying’ a report that could provide solutions to the GP training crisis, Pulse has learnt.

The report, submitted by a GP taskforce at the beginning of the year, made a series of recommendations for improving the recruitment of GP trainees, but Health Education England has so far failed to set a date for publication.

The GPC said it is sending a letter to HEE bosses asking what has happened to the report it submitted in March and demanding for the recommendations to be implemented.

Pulse understands the reason for the delay is over a recommendation made by the GP taskforce for the number of secondary care training posts to be capped, to encourage trainees to take up roles in general practice.

However HEE has told Pulse it will publish the report, but added that it will form part of its wider work on the primary care workforce.

The accusation comes after figures leaked to Pulse last week revealed there had been a 4% decrease in the number of graduates beginning GP training in August – with some areas failing to fill 40% of their positions – despite the Government imposing a target on HEE to increase the number of GP trainees.

The GPC said that it is unlikely that HEE will meet its target of 3,250 trainees entering general practice per year by 2016 – a deadline which itself was extended from 2015 – after only 2,630 positions were filled for this August.

Dr Beth McCarron-Nash, a GPC negotiator, told Pulse: ‘I don’t think they can fulfil their own target.’

‘We have written to HEE asking them why they have failed to publish their own report and we urge HEE and the DH to implement the findings of their own report.

‘It is unacceptable that this report has been buried. This needs implementation and not burial, and these figures underline that fact.’

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, chair of the GPC GP trainees subcommittee, said: ‘We need a much more comprehensive long-term strategy, which would have been available if we had got sight of the GP taskforce recommendations, which has not been published despite being submitted at the beginning of the year.’

‘Questions have to be asked about why it has not yet been published.’

Pulse reported earlier this year that the taskforce report was set to recommend a cap on the number of secondary care training posts available so that more trainees would have to go into general practice, as well as a recommendation for practices to be given grants of £20,000 for their premises so they can create more space for trainees.

But Pulse understands from a number of sources that the point of contention is around the recommendation for capping secondary care places and the effect this would have on hospital training.

A spokesperson for HEE said: ‘The GP Taskforce report was commissioned before the establishment of Health Education England. However, although it takes a very specific GP view, it will be helpful information to consider as part of our work with partners like NHS England around the wider primary care workforce as set out in our mandate and it will be published on our website in due course as one of the resources for this wider work.’