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40% of GP training places unfilled in North East England

Two fifths of GP training places in the North East of England remain vacant after the first two rounds of recruitment according to health education bosses.

Health Education England told Pulse that it has filled 60% of places in the North East deanery for GP training, leaving 40% unfilled after two intakes.

This is an improvement on last year, when the North East region filled just 51% of training places.

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.

Pulse has previously reported that 70% of training places have gone unfilled in Somerset, according to local GP leaders.

Meanwhile, Welsh GP trainers said their trainee recruitment had been boosted this time around, which they thought were in part down to the junior doctor contract row in England damaging morale.

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, chair of the GPC’s education, training and workforce subcommittee medical director for Humberside LMCs, said the result of the EU referendum was increasing uncertainty. He said: ‘The lack of clarity over what’s likely to happen with that [the referendum], even initiatives to encourage European GPs to join the NHS, all of those initiatives are going to be up in the air. General practice is struggling at every single part, and this certainly isn’t going to help.’

Please note: A previous version of this story said there was a fill rate of 47% in the North East, but Health Education England informed us this was incorrect. The current fill rate in this area is 60%. Apologies for any confusion.