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However, an ICGP spokesperson has said that recruitment is complete and that “this is understood between the ICGP and HSE”.
Mr John Hennessy, HSE National Director, Primary Care, told the Medical Independent (MI) that the issue was a real concern for the HSE, as its strategy is to expand the numbers of GPs in training in Ireland.
“The HSE has provided funding to increase the GP trainee intake in 2017 by 15 places, and is encouraging the ICGP to increase its efforts to recruit sufficient candidates, including a further round of advertising if necessary,” Mr Hennessy stated.
“This is part of a multi-annual approach to increasing the number of GPs overall over the next 10 years. The reality in this is quite simple. We need more GPs and we need to increase the numbers and we’ll be doing everything we can to ensure that we achieve that.”
However, an ICGP spokesperson said that the College upholds the standards and quality of training for trainees in Ireland.
“The College will continue to ensure that the GP training programme will provide a satisfying and rewarding experience for trainees, and equip them with the necessary skills and competencies required to be a well-prepared general practitioner embarking on this career,” the spokesperson said.
“The ICGP believes that the issues of recruitment and retention in general practice need to be addressed urgently. The FEMPI cuts need to be reversed, the proposed new contract needs to provide more flexible work practices and capacity in general practice needs to be built up, with more practice and administrative staff support.”
To date, only 176 trainees are confirmed to start training in July, despite agreement having been reached to recruit 186 trainees, it is understood.
The unfilled places are on schemes in the South East (3), Kerry (1), Galway (3), the North East (1) and Limerick (2).