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Health bill risks GP training crisis, Wollaston warns



Dr Sarah Wollaston, GP turned Conservative MP, has warned that the Government risks provoking a GP training crisis through its plans to get rid of deaneries when SHAs are scrapped.

Under the health bill, deaneries would be replaced by ‘employer networks’ that would be responsible for training doctors.

But Dr Wollaston, the MP for Totnes who sits on the House of Commons Health Committee, warned general practice could face a severe shortage of recruits if the bill was not amended in the House of Lords to allow deaneries to remain.

Her comments came as an investigation by Pulse found the number of GP training places had already fallen this year, after a sharp drop in applications.

Dr Wollaston said: ‘We know we are heading towards a more community-based NHS and we are seeing already we don’t have the numbers of GPs that will be needed. That will get worse just when we need more of them to fulfil these new roles. The hospital sector, which will form the employer networks, will be looking to fill their own posts. We could find we don’t have the GPs we need and we will lack national standards.’

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the GPC, said he was worried the proposed system would be dominated by secondary care: ‘GP training would be potentially quite vulnerable.’