NHS facing shortfall in GP out-of-hours training capacity

GP trainees are struggling to access out-of-hours training posts amid warnings that the NHS needs to expand capacity by 16% to cope with current and future demand.

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni: out-of-hours capacity demand must be met (Photo: JH Lancy)
Dr Krishna Kasaraneni: out-of-hours capacity demand must be met (Photo: JH Lancy)

NHS England told CCGs in a briefing that a 16% increase in training capacity was required to meet the increase in GP specialty training registrars between 2012 and 2015.

The CCG briefing said NHS England area teams and local education and training boards (LETBs) would ensure current anticipated increases in capacity requirements could be delivered through measures currently in place, but added that future commissioning must reflect forecast capacity.

Since April 2013 CCGs have been responsible for providing sufficient out-of-hours training capacity and are expected to include that requirement in contracts with providers.

RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker told GP the college was ‘concerned about reports from our colleagues across England of an increasing challenge in ensuring sufficient educational and clinical supervisors to deliver enough out-of-hours sessions for GP trainees’.

The college and LETBs have a duty to ensure GP trainees are competent in out-of-hours work, which Dr Baker said was a key objective of extending GP training to four years.

BMA GP trainee subcommittee chairman Dr Krishna Kasaraneni said the situation should be monitored carefully ‘as we know that there can be significant variations in the quality of training provided across different areas of the country’.

He added: ‘Even if the short-term government targets on increased GP trainee numbers are met, the amount of additional out-of-hours training time required in each locality would be relatively small and should be achievable.’

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