HEE is facing a 20% cut to its overall budget in 2017/18, but has told GPonline that it will continue to spend the amount it currently spends, around £500m, on GP training.
The GP training budget will be maintained in a bid to hit the government target of 5,000 additional GPs entering general practice by 2020, and HEE's mandate to ensure half of foundation students – around 3,250 – enter GP training this year.
It added that 'efficiency savings' will be made to help reduce administrative costs. HEE is running a voluntary redundancy scheme for staff as one cost-cutting measure to ‘reduce the amount of money spent running the organisation’, according to its latest chief executive report.
An HEE spokeswoman said: ‘To be clear this process is absolutely not about training places or the quality of training but about reducing administration costs to enable us to be as efficient as possible and ensure we divert all possible resources to the front line and patient care.
‘The work we are doing to reduce running costs and ensure best value from education support funds is being co-ordinated across the whole organisation and the needs of our doctors in training and our other students, trainees and trainers remain top of our agenda when agreeing changes to our budgets as they always have done.
‘Since its establishment in 2013, HEE has honoured its commitment to invest more in GP training by increasing the number of training posts available. This has not changed. We will continue to spend nearly £500m a year on GP training. We are working closely with NHS England to provide 5,000 more doctors in general practice by 2020.
‘Through the work of the GP Forward View and the 10-point plan, we are working with partners including NHS England, the RCGP and the GPC to increase numbers of GPs and make sure we have a skilled, trained and motivated workforce.’