The number of doctors taking up GP training posts in England has risen almost fourfold in a year, latest figures reveal.
GP leaders say the increase is a ‘step in the right direction’ following BMA lobbying but more work is needed to address ‘worrying shortages’ in parts of the country.
The figures from HEE (Health Education England) show 180 doctors were accepted for GP training in the third round of recruitment this year, compared with 47 last year.
Overall, the fill rates have risen by two percentage points in a year to 89 per cent in 2015 — almost 100 more places filled than in 2014.
Commenting on the figures, BMA GPC education, training and workforce committee chair Krishna Kasaraneni (pictured) said: ‘The increase in the number of GP trainee places being filled compared to last year is a step in the right direction.
'We are pleased that the Government is finally listening to the BMA’s input on how to attract young doctors into the profession.’
Dr Kasaraneni said the halt in declining GP recruitment was a result of the BMA’s intervention in the 10-point plan.
The plan is a collaboration between the GPC, HEE, NHS England and the Royal College of GPs focusing on improving recruitment and retention levels, and support for returning doctors.
Dr Kasaraneni said: ‘There is a very long way to go before we fully address the problems facing the GP workforce.
'Worrying shortages still remain in many parts of the country — in the north east, where four in 10 places remain unfilled, three in 10 places remain unfilled in east Midlands, two in 10 remain unfilled in the north west and the west Midlands.’
He added that a broader crisis continued to grip general practice because of rising workload, falling resources and excessive box ticking.
‘This keeps GPs away from what they want to do, which is treating patients. We need the Government to understand these fundamental problems; only when they are addressed will we see a long-term, positive end to the workforce pressures that are undermining patient care,’ Dr Kasaraneni said.
General practice minister Alistair Burt said: ‘A big well done to everyone involved in this recruitment process, but I'm very aware we need to continue to promote general practice, and bring in far more GPs.’
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