Announcing the 144 new recruits, Vaughan Gething hailed the country’s marketing campaign as ‘a great success’. This marks a 19% increase compared to 2016, when there were 121 places filled in the country - a 96% fill rate.
Wales ran two financial incentive schemes to attract trainees this year – a targeted scheme offering £20,000 for GPs to work in specific areas and a universal scheme covering the cost of one of their final exams.
Even rural areas in Ceredigion, North East Wales, North West Wales and Pembrokeshire – which have historically had difficulties recruiting trainees – have achieved 100% fill rates this year.
It comes after GPonline revealed that more places had been filled in Scotland this year than in any other since 2010. Health Education England (HEE) has yet to release equivalent figures for England.
Mr Gething said: ‘I am delighted we’ve filled all the GP training places for Wales this year, and in particular some of the traditionally hard to recruit rural areas. It shows our marketing campaign has been a great success and Wales really is a great place to train, work and live.
‘There are a number of benefits for doctors coming to Wales, including an education contract for junior doctors, the first in the UK. It guarantees ring-fenced time for learning within the working week to ensure trainee doctors will have access to a wide range of educational opportunities to support their career development.
‘The campaign was recently extended to encourage trainee psychiatrists to come to Wales, which is a particular recruitment challenge across the whole of the UK.
‘I was pleased to re-launch the medical campaign in October. I have also approved the continuation of the incentives we have put in place for GP trainees. I expect the campaign to go from strength to strength and attract even more doctors to Wales.’