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GP training curriculum

By Emma Wilkinson

The RCGP has been given the go-ahead to introduce a training curriculum for general practice.

The curriculum, approved 'unconditionally' by the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board last week, lays down distinctive competencies new GPs must acquire.

Primary care management, person-centred care and problem solving are among the six specialist competencies set by the college (see box).

There are also 31 statements on appropriate standards for general practice covering patient safety, clinical governance and diagnosis and treatment of specific conditions, such as respiratory and mental health problems.

The curriculum, which the college said was based on the joint principles of 'science and caring', covers the period from the end of the foundation programme to the certificate of completion of training.

It was developed over a five-year period in wide consultation with GP trainers and medical organisations and will be introduced next August.

Professor Steve Field, a GP in Birmingham and chair of the RCGP professional development board, said the curriculum was a 'vital' for the future of the profession.

He said: 'This UK-wide curriculum will prepare GPs so they have the knowledge and skills to take on the challenges being set by health departments.

'It makes sure GPs coming out of training can manage long-term conditions and co-morbidities but also focuses on other areas like patient safety.'

Professor Field added: 'It's going to take a little while to really develop the placements and ensure that everyone has 18 months in general practice. It would be useful if the Government would put extra money in to make that happen.'

Dr John Toby, a GP in Nor-thamptonshire who was a member of the Joint Committee for Postgraduate Training in General Practice, said the curriculum was badly needed.

'It's absolutely essential that general practice has a curriculum for the future and this is a really good piece of work.'

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