More than 4,000 trainees have accepted placements to become GPs in 2021/22, new figures have indicated.
Data published yesterday (16 November) by Health Education England (HEE) indicated that the number of recruits met the target set by the Government.
HEE said today that this year marks the fourth in a row it has hit or exceeded the Government target. In 2020, 3,793 trainees came forward, up again from 3,540 the year before.
Responding to statistics today, health secretary Sajid Javid said that the uptake was ‘absolutely fantastic’.
It comes after he admitted earlier this month that the Government will fail to fulfil its election pledge to recruit 6,000 additional full-time equivalent GPs by 2025.
Currently there are 8,664 GPs in training grade on GP placements in England.
Professor Simon Gregory, deputy medical director, primary and integrated care at Health Education England, said the fact that so many people are interested in joining GP speciality training means ‘we are doing all we can to help provide a sufficient and sustainable workforce’.
Professor Wendy Reid, director of education and quality and national medical director at Health Education England, said that recent GP workforce figures show that ‘trainees are a valuable part of the primary care workforce’.
She added: ‘On a daily basis they see and treat patients and provide a great service across the country.’
The latest data revealed England has lost the equivalent of 1,700 full-time, fully qualified GPs since 2015.
Last month, the Government announced £5.9bn funding to tackle England’s care backlog which now stands at 5.7 million people.
However, critics warned this effort will be unsuccessful without tackling vacancies across the NHS.
Back in May this year, a BMA survey showed well over a third of GPs (36%) were considering early retirement within the next 12 months due to an increasingly overwhelming workload, and more than half (51%) said they were likely to reduce their hours.
This month, Dr Tom Rustom, a GP partner and PCN clinical director in Horley, Surrey, told Management in Practice: ‘Demand will continue to outstrip supply until we have more GPs in the system.
‘ARRS will hopefully allow us to cope until then. It is genuinely a good initiative, and a good move forward for primary care to have this mix of skill sets coming in.’
The full interview can be read here.