The DoH is allowing the National Recruitment Office for General Practice Training (NRO) to go it alone in 2008. But GP recruitment will run to the same timetable as the other specialties.
Gai Evans, national recruitment officer at the NRO, said: 'We are very much happier. The DoH realised that if it let us work independently, we would stop complaining.'
Independence will allow the NRO flexibilities such as contacting applicants who make unsubstantiated claims for further details rather than rejecting them out of hand.
The NRO's system ran without hitches in 2007 while MTAS selection to every other specialty collapsed in disarray.
General practice was the only specialty to achieve a 100 per cent fill-rate in round one.
'Round two is going brilliantly,' Ms Evans said.
In round two, the 500-600 suitable applicants on the NRO's reserve list who failed to get a round one place are bidding for 22 places in the East Midlands or one of the DoH's 1,000 'transition' places. The transition places are being created to honour a promise by former health secretary Patricia Hewitt that every appointable doctor would get a training place in 2007.
SHAs have until September to decide how many GP and specialty training places they need. GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said the training places should be in general practice.
'It needs to be clear that extra training places in the next round are for GPs,' Dr Buckman said.
The NRO's 2008 draft timetable allows applications to be submitted between 1 and 22 February, followed by the stage two assessment on 2 March and interviews from 14 April.
- General practice recruitment was hitch-free in 2007 while MTAS problems dogged other specialties.
- Round one of GP recruitment achieved 100 per cent fill-rate.
- GPC call for more GP training posts.