Health Education England, working across the South West


GP Recruitment

Welcome to the webpages for GP training in the South West of England. This training is run by Health Education England, working across the South West, made up of Severn and Peninsula Regions (previously known as Severn and Peninsula Deaneries).

Our website contains important information which we hope will inspire you to train in the South West. We are excited that, for the third time this year, the two Primary Care Schools (Severn and Peninsula) are working together as one.

There have been some significant changes to the Recruitment process since 2016, applicants are now required to apply at programme level (e.g. Bristol, Cornwall, North Devon, Somerset) rather than at deanery level (e.g. HESW, Severn or Peninsula), giving applicants a greater choice of training rotations to choose from across the country. The information below is supported by links to both Primary Care Schools and their training programme websites. 


 The Training Programmes

There are ten Primary Care training programmes across HEE in the South West extending from Gloucester in the North, to Cornwall in the South. The programmes are listed in alphabetical order below. The training programmes affiliated to the Severn Primary Care School are identified by a ‘S’ in parenthesis, those affiliated to the Peninsula School by a ‘P’.

• Bath(S)

• Bristol(S)

• Cornwall(P)

• Exeter(P)

• Gloucester(S)

• North Devon(P)

• Plymouth(P)

• Somerset(S)

• Swindon(S)

• Torbay(P)


The Primary Care Schools

We are very proud to be able to offer a choice of training programmes in the South West. Severn and Peninsula Primary Care Schools reliably outperform most other UK GP schools for trainee success at the MRCGP exam. Trainee satisfaction surveys show that our trainees are amongst the happiest in the UK. This is explained by our excellent training placements, committed educators and expert administration support. The outstanding and varied geography of the South West of England with its mix of rural and urban environments, provides something for everyone . For those who can have too much of a good thing, there are excellent rail, road and airline links to London, the midlands and the north. Visit the school websites for more details.

Making your GP training programme selection

Firstly, make sure you apply to our programmes listed above.

Applicants may select a combination of any of the 10 programmes listed above and should preference their choices according to where they would be prepared to train. Please note some training programmes are more popular than others, so places are awarded competitively and for this reason candidates are advised not to choose fewer than 5 schemes. Applicants should include all the schemes they would be prepared to work in, in case they are unsuccessful in gaining a place in their preferred programme.

Appointments to training rotations in HESW are competitive, based upon the candidates’ performance in the selection process. However, HESW reserves the right to appoint candidates according to the needs of HESW, the local training schemes and the needs of individual candidates.

To help you understand and navigate the recruitment and selection process we have put some questions together. If your query isn’t answered then please e-mail us.


Non-statutory deferral

GP training is unique in offering non-statutory deferral as an opportunity for those taking up a programme.  If you opt to take a period of non-statutory deferral, it is important you are aware that it may NOT be possible following your deferral to commence training in the originally offered programme.  Furthermore, if your offered programme is associated with the Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme (TERS), you will NOT be eligible for TERS funding, even if you are allocated to a TERS post.


If you chose to defer for any length of time, it will NOT be possible
to guarantee ANY rotations or programme allocations.
If you defer your start date you will NOT be eligible for TERS funding.


12 month deferrals - we will NOT be able to guarantee a return to your originally allocated programme; you may be offered a rotation in an under-filled programme.  While we do our best to return you to your offered programme, there is a real risk that this may not be possible and in these cases we will allocate you to your first available vacant programme according to the process outlined below.

6 month deferrals – if you request a 6 month deferral, it is likely that we will be able to give you an indicative rotation. and you would normally have to drop/lose your first post in this rotation.  It is very unlikely that you will be offered this post at any other time. The exception to this will be if your first post is in GP, and you would usually then be swapped into this at a later point.

4 month deferrals – it is not always possible to agree deferrals for this period of time as a 4 month deferral period can ONLY be granted if you are allocated to a rotation with placements of this duration. Please refer to details of specific rotations for each programme. 


Returning to training following non-statutory deferral

If you are on a period of deferral and have not already been given an indicative rotation (i.e. you are deferring for 12 months), before the current round of offers are complete you will be asked to fill in a Programme Preference Form, in which you will rank your preferred programmes within either Severn or Peninsula.

Should we be unable to allocate you to the programme you deferred entry from (e.g. Bristol programme, Plymouth Programme) then we will allocate you to the first available programme with vacancies according to your submitted Programme Preference Form.

Once we have confirmed your allocated Programme in either Severn or Peninsula we will contact you, along with all other trainees from the current round of recruitment to commence rotation preferencing.

Within your allocated programme your national ranking number will be taken into account alongside the current candidates recruited and used to determine your rotation by matching candidates to their preferences according to ranking.  Direct pathway candidates will rank above those who attended a selection centre.


Statutory deferral

Candidates who defer their start date due to statutory reasons will be guaranteed a place on the training programme originally offered.


Contact details:

Health Education England - South West
Severn Postgraduate Medical Education 
Deanery House 
Unit D - Vantage Business Park 
Old Gloucester Road 
Bristol. BS16 1GW



Health Education South West
Severn Postgraduate Medical Education 
Deanery House 
Unit D - Vantage Business Park 
Old Gloucester Road 
Bristol. BS16 1GW

Email: Helen Stredder