Attempts to ensure half of all medical trainees work in general practice have been postponed by a year.
Health Education England (HEE) has been directed to ensure that half of all trainees end up in general practice training programmes by 2016, in a refreshed mandate released by the government.
However, HEE had previously been told to ensure this would happen by 2015.
The refreshed mandate claims to show the “updated strategic objectives of the government”.
HEE is responsible for ensuring that there are the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours to meet patient need.
Dr Krishna Kasareneni, chairman of the British Medical Association’s trainee subcommittee said the decision to push back the target of 3,250 additional students starting GP training before 2016 was “very disappointing”.
He said: “Without significant investment into general practice, I fail to see how this number will ever be reached.
“The government needs to investigate the potential of problems associated with GP recruitment. Simply moving the goalposts yet again is not the solution.”
Sue Covill, director of employment services at the NHS Employers organisation, said: "Employers will welcome the focus on ensuring a more flexibly trained workforce more able to face up to the changing nature of care. It's great to see a focus on values as well as the skills of all our staff, not just on doctors and nurses. We have already developed a tool that will help local employers map local values to the NHS constitution. We are also delighted to see increased emphasis on community based care.”