latest health care news

19.10.18

Highest ever numbers accept GP training posts

The number of people entering GP training is the highest in NHS history, according to new figures from Health Education England (HEE).

A total of 3,473 people took up posts this year, surpassing the annual target of 3,250 for the first time ever.

The 10% increase in uptake from last year means that HEE has broken records for the number of GP trainees accepting places for the third year running.

This comes as a much-needed boost to the government’s hopes of fulfilling their promise to provide an extra 5,000 qualified GPs by 2020.

Matt Hancock reportedly told the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) earlier in the month that although he still believed the target could be reached, the time frame had quietly been dropped.

Ian Cumming, chief executive of HEE, said: “This is fantastic news for the NHS and primary care and a real testament to the hard work of HEE staff who have worked tirelessly to increase the numbers recruited to GP training year on year.

“Our work with partners including the RCGP around raising the profile and attractiveness of general practice as a career has really helped to boost the number of trainees who want to join this specialty.”

GP staffing shortages has been under heavily scrutiny in recent years, and the RCGP urged the government to tackle the “huge problem” of GP shortages back in July 2017.

They then called for GPs to be added to the shortage occupation list in a bid to breakdown barriers to allow overseas GPs to work in the UK, and in February this year described progress on GP workforce figures as “very disappointing.”

Wendy Reid, director of education and quality and national medical director at Health Education England said that there are thousands more doctors in the system thanks to concentrated efforts by HEE to boost the number of GP trainees across the country.

She said: “This is great news for the NHS and for patients who will benefit from our continued investment in GP training through a wide range of initiatives and programmes to keep the training numbers growing year on year.

“We will continue to develop initiatives such as our general practice marketing campaign, now in its third year, to help raise awareness of general practice as a career of choice and its unique selling points as a specialty.”

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Image credit -  Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/PA Images

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