The NHS training and recruitment body forecast an additional 5,381 doctors in general practice, including registrars, by 2020 in its commissioning and investment plan for 2016/17 published on Wednesday.
HEE said the figure of 5,381 was both its worst and most likely case. The government has said the NHS will recruit an extra 5,000 GPs by 2020. HEE is mandated to recruit 3,250 by 2016.
In order to achieve its target for 2016 HEE said it will commission 134 additional training programmes underpinned by 51 additional posts.
This year's third round of GP recruitment attracted 180 successful applicants to posts, but GP leaders have warned fill rates in some regions remain 'worryingly' low as 348 posts remain vacant.
HEE chief executive Professor Ian Cumming said: ‘We are training significantly more people to work in every healthcare profession than we anticipate retiring or leaving between now and 2020.’
‘Between 2012 and 2016, we will have placed an additional 115,000 nursing and midwifery commissions into universities.
‘We are planning further, comprehensive national co-ordination of local planning for the major medical specialties and will have recommendations on these early next year for 2017, changes will be limited for now and focused on priority areas.’