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Reaction: Drop in GP training applications



Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, chair of the GPC education and workforce subcommittee

The BMA is concerned that a shortfall of GPs is adding to the pressure on GP services and impeding patient care. We are working with the NHS and HEE to find solutions to the issues, but we do believe that politicians of all parties need to provide additional support to enable more GPs to join the NHS workforce.

Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP

As we understand it, these figures cannot be directly compared with round one figures from last year. However, they do highlight how important it is that the College works closely with Health Education England to do whatever we can to boost applications ahead of the second round in March.

We have a chronic shortage of GPs in the UK and we need to ‘recruit, retain and return’ in order to increase the GP workforce in England by 8000 by the end of the next parliament.

It is important that we get the message out to medical students and foundation doctors, as early as possible, that being a GP is an exciting, diverse and challenging career path – with a broad range of opportunities available.

Last month we launched a national recruitment video to encourage junior doctors to consider a career in general practice – and we are also hosting a series of promotional events with HEE, in some of the most under-doctored areas across the country.

General practice is the cornerstone of our health service – we keep the NHS sustainable and safe for patients – but this can only continue if we have the resources and workforce to do our job properly.

We look forward to continuing our work with HEE, NHS England, the Department of Health, the BMA, and others, to implement the initiatives laid out in our joint 10-point plan to build the GP workforce that our patients – and our NHS – need and deserve.

Department of Health spokesperson

As we move more care out of hospital into the community, and continue to focus on prevention rather than cure, we will continually review the future workforce needs.  NHS England and Health Education England are working with the profession to encourage even more young, aspiring medical students to take up careers as GPs.

NHS England spokesperson

Primary care is the bedrock of the NHS and the Five-Year Forward View makes clear that it will play an even greater role in the future. The £10 million investment to expand the general practice workforce, announced last month, will kick start a range of initiatives to drive that forward so every community has GP services that best meets its health needs.’

Health Education England spokesperson

The 5,112 figure is correct for this year [’s GP training application rates]. This is not fill rate information – so you only have half the story here.

We cannot confirm recruitment information as we are half way through the process and a full comparison to previous rounds is not available.

Our mandate from the Government requires us to provide 3,250 GP training places by 2016. We are well on course to achieve that number and are working hard on a variety of initiatives to ensure general practice is seen as an exciting and interesting career choice for trainees.