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Talks are ongoing over 15 extra GP training places

Last week, ICGP National Director of GP Training Dr Karena Hanley refused to comment on negotiations but told MI “the numbers are not completely confirmed at the moment”.

“We will be communicating directly with applicants with regard to what happens next,” added the Donegal GP.

Amid anecdotal reports that the ICGP may struggle to fill GP trainee places, Dr Hanley confirmed a review of applicant numbers had been undertaken.

“We did a retrospective review of applications in the last six years and while there is some undulation, the trend is not downward.

“I can confirm that we have more qualified candidates than places,” Dr Hanley added.

Following a deferral of the date for first-round offers, due to the ongoing negotiations between the ICGP and the HSE on GP training numbers, these are now due to be issued on Thursday, 16 March.

The HSE’s 2017 Primary Care Division Operational Plan outlines plans to increase the number of training places from 172 to 187.

It also states the service level agreement (SLA) between the ICGP and HSE on the training programme for GPs will be finalised in quarter two of this year.

A HSE spokesperson confirmed to MI it had received approval from the Department of Health for 15 more GP training places and that further increases would be sought in 2018.

“This expansion is in line with projected requirements, as set out in the recent GP Workforce Planning Report and represents an increase of almost 60 per cent in GP training numbers since 2010,” said the spokesperson.

“The HSE is working with the ICGP and the GP training programmes to accommodate the additional 15 funded places within the context of the planned new arrangements for the management of GP training.”

The Medical Workforce Planning — Future Demand for General Practitioners 2015-2025 report predicted a shortage of between 493 and 1,380 GPs.

The report found evidence of a “significant undersupply of GPs in Ireland at present” and warned that GP training places should be increased immediately. 

This article was updated on 7 March, 2017

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