Health education leaders have indicated that around 40% of GP training places in the North East of England remained vacant following two rounds of recruitment.
Health Education England has indicated that it has filled around 60% of places in the north-eastern deanery for GP training.
However, although this may sound like a grim situation, it still represents an improvement from the same figure last year, when the area was able to fill just over 50% of training places.
As part of the changes to boost GP recruitment in 2016, Health Education England allowed practices to express geographical preferences at a more detailed level.
This means trainees now apply for a GP programme, such as Coventry, or Warwickshire, rather than a region, like West Midlands.
While pay and conditions may be contributing to this phenomenon, and the ongoing junior doctors dispute can certainly be viewed as of relevance, it seems that their could be a deeper reason for this training malaise.
Certainly most people in the north east would accept the pay of a general practitioner, if not the workload and pressure.
Far more significant is the challenge that doctors face to train and qualify for the profession.
With GPs required to essentially surrender a decade of their lives in order to train for the job, it is obvious that economically disadvantaged areas will struggle to attract candidates.
Many would also doubtless assert that the government does as little as possible to help.
This phenomenon explain why such low numbers of GPs are being recruited in an economically disadvantaged area such as the north east.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to be born into a working-class household in Britain and make the ultimate decision to become a GP.
Such an individual would require unbelievable dedication, determination and self-belief in order to hurdle the inevitable obstacles in their way.
It has previously been reported that 70% of training places are unfilled in Somerset.
art down to the junior doctor contract row in England damaging morale.
Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, chair of the GPC’s education, training and workforce subcommittee medical director for Humberside LMCs, commented that the recent EU vote had contributed to a general atmosphere of uncertainty.
“The lack of clarity over what’s likely to happen with that [the referendum], even initiatives to encourage European GPs to join the NHS, all of those initiatives are going to be up in the air. General practice is struggling at every single part, and this certainly isn’t going to help.”
Until there is more support for people studying and training, the situation seems unlikely to change.
And as most GPs would agree that working conditions have deteriorated, many will question why young people would choose to jump through the hoops put in their way.