The Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board will be merged with the GMC 'as soon as possible'. But extending GP training, from three to five years as recommended by Tooke and championed by the RCGP, could be delayed.
Health secretary Alan Johnson said the plan needed to be 'evidence-based, carefully tested and taken forward with key stakeholders'.
Mr Johnson said he did not envisage five-year training starting 'on whatever basis is appropriate' before 2011.
Applications to general practice stayed steady this year, confounding forecasts of a rise in applicants after general practice was the only speciality spared last year's training fiasco.
Around 9,000 doctors applied for GP training, a slight rise on 2007, said Gai Evans, national recruitment officer at the National Recruitment Office for General Practice Training. Two applicants will be competing for each of the 3,000 training places available in 2008.
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