Date Published: 30 July 2005

British Medical Association concerned about no new GPs in training

Health News from the United Kingdom (UK).

No increase in numbers of new GPs in training

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA)'s GPs Committee is concerned about the lack of growth in the number of doctors training to be general practitioners.

On Friday 29th July 2005, The UK Department of Health published figures stating that in March 2004 there were 2,439 GP Registrars (doctors training to qualify to be a GP) in England, compared with only 2,435 in March 2005.

Dr Meldrum said:

" While we welcome any increase there is in overall GP numbers, there is a worrying standstill in the GP Registrar figures between March 2004 and March 2005. These GPs in training form the new life-blood of the profession and their numbers should be significantly expanding to match the increasing demands on family doctors as services switch from hospital care to the community.

_ Also, when you take into account the changing work patterns of the new doctors, with many of them wishing to work more flexibly in general practice, it is estimated you need to train 1.5 new GPs to replace each family doctor who retires. Today's figures from the English Department of Health are therefore very disappointing."

Consultants’ leader calls for expansion in training places

Commenting on a 1.1% increase in numbers of consultants in England between December 2004 and March 2005, Dr Alan Russell, deputy chairman of the BMA’s Consultants Committee said:

Consultant numbers continue to rise gradually and patients are slowly starting to see the benefits. However, if we are to get the home-grown consultant workforce we really need, more postgraduate training posts must be created. This would help prevent large numbers of junior doctors being pushed into unemployment – which is becoming a very real threat – and reduce our reliance on overseas consultants, many of whom come here from developing countries who need them more than us.”

Source: British Medical Association, UK

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