WORCESTERSHIRE has been named as one of one of the worst areas in the country for recruiting trainee GPs.

Health Education England listed Worcestershire and Herefordshire as one of the 23 zones with the lowest trainee GP recruitment rates in England, between 2013 and 2017.

NHS England has promised aspiring doctors a £20,000 bonus if they promise to work in these areas for three years, as part of its ‘Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme’.

In 2018 to 2019, 265 people signed up to the scheme, with six sent to Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

Peter Pinfield, chairman of Healthwatch Worcestershire, welcomed the initiative, however he warned that more needed to be done.

He said: “Our GPs are experienced but many are reaching that retirement age and some are retiring early.

“Some young people coming through the training system see Worcestershire as a bit of a problem area, because we are in special measures.

“We have got to fill the vacancies. If we don’t recruit GP replacements one year in Worcester, we have to find more the next year.

“It’s a real issue, we should be making an effort to recruit trainee GPs.”

Mr Pinfield said failing to hire new trainees would put extra pressure on GP surgeries.

He added: “You will have longer waiting lists, won’t get the GP that you want and in the end you will get a poor quality service.

“We are short of doctors and nurses. Where do you get them from is the big question. You either grow them through universities or get them from the world market.”

The chairman said higher pay or incentives would also help to draw trainees to the area.

However, Mr Pinfield encouraged aspiring doctors to come to Worcestershire, insisting that the healthcare situation is improving.

In 2017 to 2018 the initiative recruited 133 aspiring doctors.

All the places available on the scheme have been filled for the first time this year.