NHS officials insist 5,000 GP target will be met despite low trainee recruitment

Senior NHS officials have insisted that plans to recruit 5,000 GPs in the next five years will be met, despite warnings from top GPs that the 'ludicrous promise' was undeliverable following low trainee uptake.

Consultations: GP trainee recruitment shortage (Photo: Robert Johns/UNP)
Consultations: GP trainee recruitment shortage (Photo: Robert Johns/UNP)

Health Education England (HEE) has reiterated that it ‘will be providing 5,000 more’ GPs by 2020, even though GP recruitment figures for this year show that one in five trainee posts across England were left vacant.

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul warned that the target could not be achieved under the current climate, and called on the government to ‘stop burying its head in the sand’ and address clear workforce problems facing the profession.

Map: GP trainee posts vacant

HEE will hold a third round of recruitment in an attempt to boost GP trainee numbers - a measure it implemented for the first time last year.

But over 600 positions remain unfilled following the first two rounds, and last year's third round saw just 72 additional trainees take up posts.

Responding to the most recent GP trainee figures, an HEE spokeswoman said: 'Since its establishment in 2013, HEE has invested more in GP training by increasing the number of posts available. We spend nearly £500m a year on GP training.

'We will be providing 5,000 more doctors in general practice by 2020 and we are working with partners on a range of initiatives to support this. We held a third round of recruitment last year, helping us fill more posts, and it makes sense to do this again to help increase the numbers of doctors in general practice and further improve services for patients.'

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