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Substantial growth needed in GP trainee numbers – NDTP analysis

By Mindo - 04th Nov 2021

Shot of a doctor showing a patient some information on a digital tablet

The latest analysis of future demand for GPs has estimated an increase from approximately 200 to over 500 trainees annually is required in general practice over the next five years, not accounting for doctor emigration. The updated report, titled Demand for medical consultants and specialists to 2028 and the training pipeline to meet
demand: A high level stakeholder informed analysis, described general practice as unique in its requirements for
a substantial growth in trainee numbers in order to move towards policy changes advocated within Sláintecare.

The analysis published by HSE National Doctors Training and Planning (NDTP) “represents the views of NDTP stakeholders rather than the HSE or HSE NDTP itself”. Overall, according to the ICGP, there are 866 trainees enrolled on the GP training programme in 13 schemes across four regions. The number of new training places will increase to 255 for 2022, up from 233 places for 2021.

The NDTP analysis calculated that the GP workforce needed to grow from the current number of 3,989 to 5,649
in the future in order to roll-out universal free GP care. “Estimates do not factor in more nurse-led care in the
community, which may reduce this demand estimate somewhat. More research is needed in this area once plans for primary care and general practice developments are more fully formed, in line with Sláintecare policy,” added the report.

In general practice, demand estimates were based on consideration of rolling out free GP care to the under-18s
and over-70s as well as universal free GP care. On Saturday 16 October, the board of the ICGP gave formal approval to the transfer of general practice training from the HSE to the ICGP.

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