GPs face new recruitment crisis

GP recruitment looks to be heading for a new crisis after registrar numbers in England plummeted by 11 per cent last year.

Among men, the fall was even steeper at 14 per cent.

Even among women, who now make up three-fifths of the registrar workforce, the number of registrars fell by 9 per cent in the year to September 2006.

At the same time, the numbers of GPs joining the profession slackened, with GP numbers increasing by over 1 per cent in 2006. The figures were published last week by the Information Centre for Health and Social Care.

Dr Andrew Thomson, chairman of the BMA’s registrars subcommittee, said it was a worrying trend.

'In a short period we will be very short of GPs,' he said.

Last year’s NHS workforce statistics revealed that there were only 2,278 GP registrars in 2006 compared with 2,564 in 2005.

The drop was caused by cuts in the training budgets for deaneries. Whether funding to restore numbers will be returned to the deaneries remains uncertain.

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