Would changing the selection process for GP trainees stem the workforce crisis? A cohort study using multiple-imputation and simulation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • University of Warwick
  • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


Background: There is currently a shortage of qualified GPs in the UK and not all of the training posts available each year are filled. Changing the way in which GP trainees are selected could help increase the training post fill rate and the number of new entrants to the GP Register. The aim of this study was to model the impact of changing the selection process for GP training on the number of trainees obtaining GP Registration, either with or without extensions.

Method: This was a cohort study using UK applications for GP training in 2011–14. Application data were linked using GMC numbers to training outcome data where available, and imputed using multiple imputation where missing. The number of trainees appointed and GP Registrations within three and five years’ full-time-equivalent were estimated for four different selection processes.

Results: The cut scores used in the actual 2015 selection process makes it impossible to fill all training posts. Random selection is the worst option, but the difference between this and other processes modelled falls as more trainees are selected. There are large marginal effects on outcomes: those with the highest selection scores are more likely to obtain GP Registration than those with the lowest scores.

Conclusions: Changing the selection process alone would have a small impact on the number of GP Registrations; reducing/removing cut scores would have a much larger impact. This would also increase the number of trainees requiring extensions and being released from training which would have adverse consequences for the profession.


Original languageEnglish
Article number81
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Medical Education
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2018


  • general practice, recruitment , selection , training , multiple imputation