Third record-breaking year for GP trainee recruitment

GP trainee numbers in England have risen for the third year running, with recruitment up a record 15% compared to the same point last year

 Doctor using a stethoscope on a patient

• GP trainee numbers rise by record 15% compared to last year
• New figures affirm government on track to meet target for 3,500 doctors entering training
• Government committed to delivering an extra 50 million appointments a year for patients as well as 6,000 more doctors in general practice

Figures released by Health Education England (HEE) today show there have been 3,441 acceptances onto GP specialty training in 2020, compared to 2,891 at the same stage in 2019.

With one more recruitment round to go, HEE is on track to beat its target for recruiting 3,500 doctors in training to general practice this year.

NHS England and HEE are working together with the profession to increase the general practice workforce in England. This includes measures to boost recruitment, address the reasons why doctors leave the profession, and encourage them to return to practice.

The government is committed to growing the workforce by 6,000 more doctors, as well as thousands more physiotherapists, pharmacists and other highly skilled practitioners, to deliver an extra 50 million appointments a year.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

"This is fantastic news for the NHS: for the third year running GP trainee recruitment is breaking records.

"We’re now well on our way to beating our annual target, showing there is growing interest in this fantastic career.

"These new trainees will ensure a pipeline of talent for the future and help us deliver an extra 50 million appointments a year for patients as well as 6,000 more doctors in general practice."

Growing the workforce will mean bigger teams of staff providing a wider range of care options for patients, and will free up more time for doctors to focus on those with more complex needs.

The government has committed at least an additional £1.5 billion in cash terms for general practice over the next 4 years to help boost the workforce.

This is in addition to the £4.5 billion real terms annual increase announced for primary and community care in the NHS Long Term Plan by 2023 to 2024.

Earlier this month the latest UCAS statistics revealed a 16% rise in applicants for nursing and midwifery courses in England, the second year-on-year increase. The Nursing and Midwifery’s Council has also reported its largest ever annual increase of registered nursing and midwifery professionals, with around 18,370 more on the permanent register to work in the UK compared to a year ago.