There are now fears the case could escalate into a class action.
The challenge has reignited the row between GP educators calling for an 18-month stint in general practice and budget-strapped deaneries that say they can only afford 12 months.
The situation is aggravated by the revelation that SHAs are raiding over £117 million from this year's training budgets.
A spokesman for the Association of Course Organisers (ACO) said: 'It would be meltdown if registrars launch a group action against the deaneries.'
Dr Bill Reith, a co-author of the training curriculum and chairman of the RCGP's postgraduate training committee, said the curriculum 'is not necessarily predicated on spending 18 months in general practice'.
Dr Reith said: 'It was the hope and intention of the RCGP that it would be able to negotiate an 18-month:18-month training split.'
The curriculum submitted by the RCGP, supported by the Committee of General Practice Education Directors and accepted unconditionally by the Postgraduate Medical Education Training Board (PMETB), stipulated 18 months in general practice as a usual standard.
'A lot of people hoped that PMETB would see the complexity of the curriculum and would say that it must take 18 months,' Dr Reith said. 'But PMETB doesn't take a view on how long training should be in any specialty.'
The ACO says its members are astonished to find that SHAs and deaneries have allowed the release of millions of pounds to acute care. It points out that the same organisations blame deficits for their inability to fund the agreed 18-month training posts.
Four SHAs - South Central, East of England, South West and South East Coast - have indicated they will divert up to 11.8 per cent of their 2007/8 multi-professional education and training allocations into strategic reserves.
The East of England Deanery was unavailable for comment.
In Northern Ireland the Assembly has enabled all GP registrars to be offered an 18-month stint. In Scotland, after pilots in 2007, 18-month training will be introduced from August 2008.
In England and Wales, the decision has been left to deaneries resulting in postcode provision.
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