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GPC anger as ministers strip GPs of control over training

The GPC has attacked the Government for a 'ludicrous' failure to ensure GPs are properly represented on the new organisation that will oversee doctors' postgraduate training.

GPs also fear the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB) will not be ready to start work in October, causing delays in

certification of doctors who have completed their training.

The new board was one of the Department of Health's NHS Plan commitments and replaces the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice and the Specialist Training Authority.

In a paper for the GPC, Dr Roger Chapman, honorary secretary of the joint committee, said GPs would be 'marginalised' by the new body and claimed it had no intention of consulting with the profession. Dr Chapman, a GP in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, also criticised the board for not setting up a specific committee relating to GP training.

'What is important is that the views of general practice get into the structure. If that does not happen the PMETB may not be properly informed about the special needs of GP education,' he said.

GPC negotiator Dr Laurence Buckman said the exclusion of GPs could jeopardise patient care, as training would not be supervised and planned by GPs.

'It's ludicrous. Patients deserve properly trained doctors and they should be supervised by someone who knows what they are doing,' he said.

'Just in the same way that I don't supervise the training of heart surgeons because I am a family doctor.'

Dr Terry John, chair of the GPC's education sub-committee and a GP in east London, said it was 'unacceptable' that GPs were not adequately represented on the PMETB.

The Department of Health said five out of 13 members of the PMETB's medical board were GPs and the organisation was currently working on its sub-committees.

Dr Chapman said it was 'lucky' GPs had some representation in the initial membership of the board.

By Nerys Hairon

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