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Practices scramble for share of £100m GP training funds

8 July 2009

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Medical practices are bidding for their share of £100 million pledged by the government to expand the training of GPs.

The funds are planned to allow a 37% increase in training places for GP registrars by 2011 as well as new 18-month training slots.

Practices in primary care trusts (PCTs) with the fewest doctors are competing for the cash. PCTs in Barking and Dagenham, Wolverhampton and Knowsley are oversubscribed.

While a minority of the practices bidding for the money are owned by the NHS or a local council, the majority are GP-owned. Practices allocated the money will have to commit to taking on extra trainees for five years.

In a bid to correct regional health inequalities, deaneries have revised the number of trainees they take on.

However only the South East coast deanery stands to lose registrar places by 2011 due to the overall increase in the number of registrars. It had 278 vacancies for the 2009 intake but will only offer 264 in 2011.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

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“We found out about the money in April and contacted our PCT. Our PCT didn’t get the forms in time as the Deanery sent the to another PCT by mistake, so we applied late. However, we have got approval from our PCT and the Deanery and we have now been told the amount of money we have been allocated. Our plans do not involve major building works (eg planning consent) so we should be able to get all the work done in time. It has allowed us to become a training practice 5 years earlier than we had hoped. It also means the premises get an upgrade at no cost to the GPs” – Name and address withheld

“Dare I say that this might be another example of ‘government by the latest not-thought-through initiative’? It is OK for them to blithely announce their headline-grabbing initiatives but this looks like one of the type we have seen so often before. To announce an initiative which is bound to fail allows them to blame someone else for not achieving it – while still looking as if they are doing something” – Alan Moore, Western Cheshire

“Why is this money for training only for GPs? Practice nurses are in need of extra funding to expand their competences. A PMS or GMS investing in practice nurse training at HEIs will reap enormous benefits for the quality of care provided. Take any specialist area and nurses are running the hospital departments. GPs are a ubiquitous lot, with years of grudge. Let’s breath a fresh energy were stagnation pervades” – Carl Curtis, Southwark

“Totally agree, the timescale is very unrealistic we are desperate to expand, have ample space but need funding we have juggle rooms for a trainee, HCA and midwife but was not told about this money until last week and we are struggling to get everything together just so we can go on a reserve list” – Sue Challinger, Medway

“This is just more spin. The PCT drags its feet to support you (if it does) and you run out of any possible time to get a planning application approved, let alone build. Must be just another Labour ploy to try and look good!” – Malcolm Wallace, Halesowen

“Even if you have planned, tendered and completed your building and intend to commit huge practice resources to increasing training cap, you don’t necessarily get financial support. Very, very disappointing” – Jenny Wainwright, South Derbyshire

“I agree with the comment from Debbie – we have received an allocation but only now getting absolute go ahead so very difficult to do in time scale.” – Lesley Mayo, Haringey

“We have secured funds but we started immediately this money was first mooted by reviving a previous bid we had for some PCT money. We were obstructed at every turn – I had to appeal their refusal and make an FOI request to find out what had gone on – and we have two regional trainers of trainers working in the practice as well as being in a ‘super output’ ie, v deprived area. I would be very reluctant to go down this road again but perhaps that is the idea. Make it well nigh impossible to get the money them blame GPs when it doesn’t work. Cynical – who me?” – Name and address supplied

“Unfortunately, the government, or Deaneries or someone has put unrealistic time constraints on this money. You have to have planned, tendered and completed your building extension or building by end March 2010. Unrealistic or what!” – Debbie Wheatley, Cambs PCT