Scotland on track to increase fill rate for GP training posts in 2019

Scotland looks set to increase its fill rate for GP training posts in 2019 after filling a higher proportion of places than last year with one round of advertising still to come.

GP training (Photo: Martin Prescott/Getty Images)
GP training (Photo: Martin Prescott/Getty Images)

A total of 261 (84%) of the 311 training posts available in Scotland have been filled after three out of four rounds of advertising for 2019, figures published by NHS Education for Scotland show.

This is slightly up from the 82% fill rate for last year at this stage - when just 306 posts were available - and suggests Scotland is also likely to beat its overall fill rate for GP training posts in 2018 - which the the GP National Recruitment Office puts at 84%.

BMA leaders welcomed the signs that GP trainee recruitment - along with fill rates in other specialties - was improving. But they warned that 'huge gaps' remained in recruiting to GP training in Scotland.

The fill rate in 2018 for Scotland was well below that for both England and Wales - after England saw record recruitment figures. In England, the fill rate for GP training posts in 2018 was 105% - with additional places made available on top of the 3,250 initially planned to meet demand.

GP training

In Wales, 99% of posts were filled last year - although in Northern Ireland just 78% of available posts were taken up.

BMA Scotland junior doctors committee chair Dr Lewis Hughes said: 'Recruitment and retention of valuable, skilled doctors is an issue here in Scotland, and it is a fact that we need more doctors to cope with the ever-increasing demands of a growing and ageing population on our NHS.

'It is good to see that overall more training posts are being filled. However, it is concerning that there remain huge gaps in recruitment for trainee recruitment in areas such as psychiatry and general practice.

'On top of all of this, we need to ensure that once these trainees qualify, that we make Scotland a more attractive place to work, and encourage them that this is a great place to live and build their careers. The government need to show that they value doctors in Scotland, not just today, but tomorrow, and forever. They need to match other UK governments for investment in doctor’s facilities and doctors' wellbeing, and really demonstrate why after training, Scotland can be their home for life.'

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