Health minister Steve Brine said in parliament this week that 250 places would be available in 2018 through the targeted enhanced recruitment scheme (TERS) - 25% more than the 200 pledged by health secretary Jeremy Hunt in a speech at the RCGP conference last October.
DHSC officials have since confirmed that the number of posts available will in fact be 265, after uptake of available posts increased from 86% in 2016 to 92% in 2017. A total of 238 trainees have been recruited through the TERS.
Health minister Steve Brine said: 'GPs are a vital part of the NHS and we recognise there are areas of the country where recruitment has been challenging – that’s why we’ve expanded the enhanced recruitment scheme from 200 to 265 training places.
'This will help to boost GP levels in communities which have traditionally found it hard to recruit to and ease the pressure on practices.'
The TERS scheme - a pilot launched in 2016 and rolled over for two further years so far, offers a £20,000 'salary supplement' to trainees who commit to working for three years in areas identified among the hardest to recruit trainees to.
Responding to a question from Conservative MP Bill Wiggin, Mr Brine said NHS England had 'provided funding to increase the number of GP training places in England each year to 3,250 and invested additional resources to attract former GPs back to practice'.
The government has faced setbacks in its bid to meet Jeremy Hunt's 2015 pledge to add 5,000 full-time equivalent GPs to the primary care workforce by 2020/21, with a drop of 1,300 between September 2015 and September 2017.