Fewer than 25% of 2014 trainees opting for general practice

Less than a quarter of 2014 foundation trainees intended to pursue a career in general practice, according to a Health Education England (HEE) board update.

GP trainee: uptake of posts is low (Photo: JH Lancy)
GP trainee: uptake of posts is low (Photo: JH Lancy)

The data reveal the scale of the task the government faces to hit its target of half of medical graduates choosing GP careers by 2016.

The figures emerged alongside data showing a 6.2% fall in the number of trainees applying for GP posts in 2015, according to official figures from the first round of GP recruitment.

HEE received just 5,112 applications for GP training posts, representing a 6.2% fall from last year. This follows a 9.7% fall in 2014.

A board update from Health Education East of England, which revealed the application figures, also showed that just 23% of foundation-level trainees in 2014 planned to go into GP speciality training.

Short of target

HEE’s government-mandated target dictates that 50% of trainees should be entering general practice by 2016 - a target that has already been postponed by a year due to flagging uptake.

The recruitment round will conclude on 26 March 2015, after which HEE will announce how many trainee posts have been filled.

The disappointing figures come after HEE implemented a ‘desperate’ third recruitment round in 2014 in a bid to boost numbers.

An HEE spokeswoman said: ‘Our mandate from the government requires us to provide 3,250 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.’

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