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RCGP warns HEE cuts pose serious threat to GP training

Proposed cuts to the GP training budget could seriously threaten quality, the RCGP has warned.

As revealed by Pulse, all areas of Health Education England’s GP training spend are being considered for cuts except trainee salaries, as HEE has to trim its budget by 20%-30%.

RCGP chair Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard said she was ‘frustrated’ to learn the news and has already written to ‘all bodies involved’ outlining the college’s concerns.

She said: ‘It was frustrating to hear reports of plans to significantly cut funding for GP training by Health Education England.

‘Although this wouldn’t affect GP trainees’ salaries, it would seriously threaten the quality of training, when we should be pulling out all the stops to make it as attractive as possible for medical students.

‘I have already written to all bodies involved strongly outlining our concerns and will keep you updated of the outcome.’

At the end of February, several high-placed sources at HEE confirmed to Pulse that they were considering cuts to all areas of GP training, with only trainee salaries being protected.

GPC’s education, training and workforce lead Dr Krishna Kasaraneni said at the time that ‘GP training practices are already operating at a significant loss as they provide training with poor funding and out of goodwill’ and therefore ‘any such cuts could spell the end of GP training as we know it’.

HEE is responsible for meeting the Governments’ target of adding 5,000 GP’s to the workforce by 2020, but despite increasing the number of GP’s starting their training it has failed to meet its objective of training 3,250 a year by 2016.

However, last week HEE chief executive Professor Ian Cumming told MPs on the Public Accounts Committee that GP trainee recruitment is up 4.7% this year compared to the same stage in 2016.