84% of UK GP training posts filled after one recruitment round

A total of 84% of UK GP training posts for 2018 have already been filled, figures released by NHS Education for Scotland (NES) suggest.

GP trainee (Photo: iStock)
GP trainee (Photo: iStock)

Across the UK, 3,383 out of 4,027 general practice training posts available have been filled following the first round of recruitment - representing an overall fill rate of 84%.

Last month, Health Education England (HEE) chief executive Professor Ian Cumming announced that a record number of GPs had been recruited in England in 2018 after the first recruitment round - 3,019 of a 3,250 target for the year. This means that in England 93% of posts that will be available in 2018 have already been filled.

In Scotland  81% of GP training posts made available to date for 2018 have been filled. Scottish public health minister Joe FitzPatrick said: ‘It’s particularly positive to see we’ve sustained 25% increase in GP specialty training posts. This includes filling 36 posts, many in remote and rural areas, supported with bursaries of £20,000, which shows that our efforts to target and recruit doctors for certain specialities are working.’


General practice in Scotland is currently facing significant difficulties in recruitment and retention, with around one in four practices reporting vacancies. As a result, several out-of-hours services across the country have been forced to close.

Professor Stewart Irvine, director of medicine and deputy chief executive at NES said: ‘We’re pleased to see these numbers, which put us on track to filling nearly all this year’s vacant posts. However, we recognise that recruitment remains challenging, and are continuing to work with partners and stakeholders across Scotland to address these challenges.’

Announcing the English GP trainee recruitment figures earlier this year, Professor Cumming said: ‘This is a record breaking figure and is up over 10% on the figures for this time last year. We still have round two to go but I am confident that we will hit the 3,250 target for the first time in our history.'

GP trainees

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey said at the time: 'It's good to see an increase in GP trainees as practices and patients really need to see more doctors entering the workforce.

'However, training even this number of GPs will still not be enough to expand the workforce to the level we need with so many GPs reducing their sessions in order to cope with workload pressures, or leaving the profession altogether... So we need to focus on retention as much as recruitment.'

A full breakdown of training post fill rates across the UK is expected later this year.

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