Nearly a third of GP training places are unfilled across the UK, according to a Pulse exclusive.
The East Midlands and North East of England are the worst affected, with the figure rising to 65 percent. Local GPs have said they believe it’s unlikely the places will be filled by the deadline – August 2015.
Dr John Ashcroft, an executive officer of Derby and Derbyshire LMC, told Pulse the whole situation was ‘depressing’.
“We need a new contract; the contract isn’t fit-for-purpose”, he added. “They talk about ‘you need extra doctors’… we keep hearing the talk, but we’re not really seeing anything to really make a difference. That ultimately means money, doesn’t it?
‘Words are cheap; money counts. If they really recognise the importance of general practice, somebody’s got to find some real money to put in there – otherwise it’s going to keep on getting worse.”
Overall, there is a 29 percent vacancy rate across the UK – more than three times higher than figures from 2013.
There are normally two rounds of GP trainee recruitment, but Health Education England was forced to instigate what Pulse describes as ‘an unprecedented’ third round last year following poor take-up rates – a move that is likely to occur again this year.
Dr Krishna Kasaraneni – Chair of the General Practitioners Committee’s Education, Training and Workforce Sub-Committee – told Pulse: “I think it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say the last two years for general practice recruitment haven’t been that great; simple as that.
‘The approach that Health Education England and NHS England have taken recently – to listen to [the BMA’s] concerns and put measures in place to try and address that – has been a welcome change.”