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Record number of GPs recruited after first round

Recruitment into GP specialty training has hit a record high, according to figures released by Health Education England today.

The GP specialty training fill rate for the first round of recruitment has increased by 2% compared to this time last year.

The figures revealed that 2,598 trainees were accepted this round compared with 2,533 at the same stage as last year. HEE reports they are hopeful they will again meet their target of recruiting 3250 trainees.

Last year, the target was surpassed for the first time when Matt Hancock announced that nearly 3,500 trainees had been recruited, a 10% increase from the previous year.

HEE deputy medical director for primary care Professor Simon Gregory said: ‘After our record-breaking year last year when we exceeded our target, we are delighted that trainees are continuing to apply for GP specialty training in such large numbers. It shows that our campaign to highlight General Practice as a rewarding, sustainable, flexible career is having a great impact.

‘It’s great that so many doctors are choosing a career in general practice. Many of our educators are telling us that the calibre of applicants is also high which is great news. I would like to thank everyone who is working hard to promote GP Specialty Training.

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RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said the numbers were ‘excellent news.’

She said: ‘It’s hugely encouraging to see that a record number of doctors are choosing a career in general practice, helping to provide high-quality care to thousands of patients every day.

‘Being a GP can be the best job in the world – it’s dynamic, varied, intellectually-stimulating and enormously rewarding – as long as we are given the proper resources and funding we need to allow us to keep up with patient demand and the evolving face of modern healthcare.

‘GPs are the cornerstone of the NHS, which is why it’s more important than ever that we redouble our efforts to ensure the profession is not only fit for new recruits, but also for existing GPs and those who might be thinking of returning to general practice.

‘We will continue to work with the Government and others to achieve this within the shortest possible time, notwithstanding the challenges we face.’

Earlier this year, an official report showed fewer trainee doctors in their foundation year were intending to become GPs.

Meanwhile, in January, Mr Hancock told Pulse he had not set a target date for when the Government should meet the target of recruiting 5,000 GPs.