New doctor target will not be met

10 Oct 02
The government will fail to meet its recruitment target of 15,000 extra GPs and hospital consultants by 2008 because it is not training enough doctors, a leading health care think-tank said this week.

11 October 2002

The King's Fund said that on current projections there would be a shortfall of 3,000 on the ambitious target. An interim target of 7,500 consultants and 2,000 GPs by 2004 will also not be met.

Although the government is training more doctors, they will not become GPs or consultants until after 2008. A GP is not fully qualified until at least four years after graduation, while it takes at least eight years after leaving university to become a consultant.

Though ministers are confident they can plug the gap by recruiting doctors from overseas, the fund points out they have employed only 100 to date.

The 2008 target could be reached by cutting the length of specialist training and making general practice a more attractive career for young doctors, the fund added.


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