The NHS has confirmed that “about 2,000” junior doctor training posts have been left unfilled after its first round of recruitment for 2007.
But it said that 85% of the 16,000 or so posts had been filled by the much-maligned recruitment system – beating its target.
NHS Employers’ deputy director Sian Thomas told Personnel Today: “We do not have formal figures yet, but we can say that about 85% of the posts have been filled in the first round of recruitment.
“This is extremely good from an employment perspective, as we were expecting somewhere in the region of 75%. We know certain specialities and regions are hard to recruit to and we anticipated gaps.”
Thomas said the priority now was communicating with NHS trusts so they knew who they would be receiving and could start initial checks and preparations.
There will be a second round of recruitment, which could last until October.
The government has received a torrent of criticism over its handling of the new recruitment scheme for the junior roles, which begin on 1 August. There were calls for a public enquiry and for former health secretary Patricia Hewitt to resign.
Just last week, doctor’s pressure group Remedy UK claimed to have seen a letter from the Department of Health conceding that more than 4,000 of the roles remained unfilled.