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It was understood that 176 trainees would start training in July, despite agreement being reached between the HSE and ICGP to recruit 186 trainees.
But in a recent statement to the Medical Independent (MI), a spokesperson for the ICGP said the figure was 171.
“The ICGP continues to work closely with the HSE to deliver high-quality GP training. There has been no significant reduction in the number of GP trainees beginning their training this year. We are looking forward to welcoming 171 excellent trainees in July,” said the spokesperson.
“The College is developing a long-term strategy for GP training and is working to identify further opportunities for expansion in the future.
“A number of initiatives are currently underway, aimed at ensuring that general practice continues to attract the highest quality candidates.”
A HSE spokesperson said it was “extremely disappointed” at what it described as the ICGP’s failure to recruit for all places.
“The HSE is extremely disappointed at the failure of the ICGP to successfully recruit all places in 2017 and is engaging further with the ICGP to ensure that all necessary steps are being taken to fill the funded training posts,” said the spokesperson.
The HSE is due to meet again with the ICGP this week. The spokesperson added it is not likely at this late stage that any further positions would be filled.
In May, the HSE called on the ICGP to increase efforts to fill the remaining vacant places for the 2017 GP training schemes.
But the ICGP said recruitment had been completed and that “this is understood between the ICGP and HSE”.
Sources within the ICGP told MI that there has been a change in attitude by the HSE towards the issue and that there is now a realisation that there is a problem filling GP training places.
The ICGP has called for the recruitment and retention of GPs in general practice to be urgently addressed, along with the reversal of cuts introduced under FEMPI legislation.