GP recruitment figures in Wales have reached record numbers for the third year running, with 200 new GP trainees recruited this year, a 7% increase from last year’s figure of 186.
Achieving 200 new recruits is a substantial increase from the original target of 136 but also the increased allocation agreed last year of 160 training places.
The trainees have been recruited by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), who over the last few years has established a number of initiatives to promote Wales as a great place to train and work, supported by the Train Work Live campaign, which launched in 2016. The campaign includes two financial incentive schemes: a targeted scheme offering a £20,000 incentive to GP trainees taking up posts in specified areas with a trend of low fill rates, and a universal scheme offering a one off payment for all GP trainees to cover the cost of one sitting of their final examinations. The work HEIW has undertaken includes increased attendance at careers events for Foundation Trainees and Medical students and a re-designed GP Trainer Course.
There has been a noticeable increase in the fill rates across Wales as a whole and specifically in the training schemes in north and west Wales and this will have a direct impact on increasing the number of GPs caring for patients over the coming years.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething said:
"Recruiting 200 new GP trainees is fantastic news in any year, but this year more than any other has highlighted the vital care the NHS and Social Care workforce provides to us and how much we rely on them.
"The national and international Train Work Live marketing campaign year on year has worked with partners to deliver increased take up of GP training places and these figures reinforces the messages that Wales is a fantastic place to train, work and live. I’m delighted that we have once again broken recruitment records and that we are making a significant contribution to the delivery of a sustainable primary care service."
Professor Pushpinder Mangat, Medical Director at HEIW said
"We are naturally very pleased to have exceeded our targets with even more trainees choosing Wales as their place to train, work and live.
These extra additions to the NHS Wales workforce allow us to increase the capacity to deliver a sustainable health and social care system in the future, as set out in A Healthier Wales."