Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


One in eight GP training posts vacant, despite unprecedented third round of recruitment

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 28 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6478

Rapid Response:

The author has highlighted this key problem with the take up of GP training posts earlier in July, and now again after a third round of recruitment. This certainly highlights that there is a major problem with filling of vacancies and the question that needs to be asked is "why is this happening and will it continue?".

Foundation trainees can often have a rough idea of the general field they are drawn towards i.e Medicine, surgery or community. Lifestyle within that field is naturally a large determining factor in how it is viewed.

As a medical student I was convinced I wanted to be a GP, regular patient contact, building rapport, continuity and security in knowing I would not need to be working in the evenings and weekends. Towards the end of my degree in 2013 and 2014 there was a lot of talk of how GP pressures are rising and funding is possibly reducing in proportion to the amount of work needing to be done. There was talk of reaching additional QOF targets with no monetary gain and then talk of ending the QOF targets.

These matters alongside patients having a named GP and potentially working later into the evening or even having 7 day practices has completely changed the way me and many of my peers view general practice.

Although much has not changed, it certainly does seem that in time we are heading towards longer working hours and working weekends in general practice. This then raises the question, "Will working in general practice not have similar hours to hospital practice?".

As GP surgeries increase in size, responsibilities, work load and working hours, there is more incentive to stay in hospital practice for those that were on the fence or not completely convinced they wanted to be a GP. Not because hospital medicine is easier or necessarily better, for some it is simply because there is not as many incentives as there once were in general practice. As time progresses it also becomes clear that general practice is further developing into a business where cost pressures play a significant role in the health care one provides.

I expect more juniors to take up core training programmes and continue to head towards hospital specialities if general practice continues to seem less appealing.

Competing interests: No competing interests

28 October 2014
Valeed Ghafoor
Foundation Trainee
Royal Preston Hospital, Sharoe Green Lane, PR2 9HT