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One in five GP trainee places in England unfilled

Government plans for GP services are ‘undeliverable’ insists BMA

Caroline White

Friday, 14 August 2015

One in five GP trainee places in England remains unfilled, adding up to more than 600 current vacancies, indicate the latest figures from the National Recruitment Office for GP Training.

The figures have prompted doctors’ leaders to reiterate that government plans for GP services, which include 5,000 new recruits and seven-day opening, are “undeliverable,” particularly as one in three existing GPs plans to retire in the next five years.

The figures for the 2015 recruitment round show that 632 GP training places are currently unfilled, with some areas of the country particularly badly affected.

In the North East, almost half of these posts are vacant, with more than one in four empty in the East Midlands and around a third unfilled in Wessex, the West Midlands, and the North West.

Only Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and the Thames Valley regions have eluded the shortfalls, the figures show.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP committee chair, said that the figures laid bare the “huge scale” of the crisis facing GP services and patient care.

“The failure to recruit new GPs is happening at the same time as a third of existing GPs are intending to retire in the next five years. GP practices are rapidly facing a situation where they do not have either new or experienced GPs to deliver enough appointments to patients and maintain high quality services,” he said.

“With medical graduates turning their backs on general practice, there is no sign that the government will be able to fulfil its pledge to recruit 5,000 GPs and open all surgeries seven days a week. Whatever the rhetoric, on the ground these plans are completely undeliverable,” he insisted.

He urged the government to “stop burying its head in the sand” and face up to the extent of the crisis, including looking at long-term funding of primary care to make general practice become an attractive career option for all medical graduates he said.

“Most importantly, we need our political leaders to focus on getting current services right, rather than making ludicrous promises that are at total odds with reality,” he said.

England

Places filled

Place available

%

Kent, Surrey and Sussex

248

248

100.0

Thames Valley

115

115

100.0

London

435

443

98.2

South West

249

262

95.0

East of England

292

320

91.3

North West

337

478

70.5

Yorkshire & Humber

228

295

77.3

Wessex

97

140

69.3

West Midands

233

350

66.6

East Midlands

159

280

56.8

North East

99

193

51.3

Totals

2492

3124

79.8

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