Around 18% of training places in England were unfilled after two rounds of recruitment, down on the proportion of places filled at this stage last year.
The figures published on the GP National Recruitment Office website suggest that around 2,658 graduates have been recruited to start GP training this year – below the 2,691 recruited at this point last year.
It suggests that the target to recruit 3,250 GP trainees a year – which was first set for 2015 – will once again be missed.
The target of 3,250 has been a pillar of the Government’s strategy to recruit 5,000 extra GPs by 2020.
However, despite encouraging signs over the past few years, Health Education England has continued to fall short.
The figures from the first round of recruitment this year suggested that HEE was on course to meet the target this year.
But these latest vacancy advertisments reveal a disappointing second round of recruitment.
Regions in the north of England and the East Midlands have historically struggled the most with recruitment.
This year, the Yorkshire and Humber deanery only added 19 trainees to its intake between the first and second rounds, with 110 of 328 places remaining unfilled.
They also reveal high vacancy rates in the devolved nations, with Scotland still advertising 21% of its 350 places, Wales advertising 28 of its 130 vacancies while six of the 97 places in Northern Ireland were unfilled.
Earlier this month NHS England announced it was intending to recruit 2,000 GPs from overseas to offset the current workforce crisis.
More to follow