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The rise in GP training places over recent years is “quite marginal” and “insignificant” in terms of the overall increase required to reach the Department of Health’s previous target of “steady state intakes” of 240 annually, outlines a briefing note prepared by HSE National Doctors Training and Planning (NDTP).
According to the note, which was circulated at a meeting of the HSE’s medical recruitment and patient safety oversight group last August: “In relation to GP training places, while there continues to be some progress with increasing numbers, it is quite marginal and is insignificant in terms of the overall increases required to reach the Department of Health’s previous target of steady state intakes of 240 annually.”
Intake in July 2019 was 196 trainees, including three doctors re-entering/repeating, while intake in July 2018 was 194 including one doctor repeating.
In the current training year, there are 768 GP trainees across the four years of specialty training, compared with 709 in 2017/2018.
In November, the ICGP announced it had received the highest ever number of applications for GP training commencing in 2020. The number of applications was 461, an increase of 3.3 per cent on the previous year, and a 61 per cent increase on 2017 (286).
Speaking at the time, ICGP Director of Training Dr Karena Hanley said the College hoped to provide around 200 places for 2020.
“This is still some distance from the numbers required even to meet those retiring from general practice,” stated Dr Hanley. “However, with positive indications that the transfer of GP training to the College will be completed in 2020, ICGP looks forward to working with the HSE to increase the number of training places available to doctors, and meeting national demand.”
In its general election manifesto, Fine Gael commits to increasing the number of GP training places to 300 by 2025, while Fianna Fáil’s manifesto pledges 274.