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GPSI halfway house plan revealed

The RCGP is developing plans for a 'practitioner with extended knowledge' grade to help more GPs develop a specialism.

Under the proposals to be released next month, GPs who gained skills in a certain field during their SHO years could go on week-long courses to refresh their knowledge.

Dr Graham Archard, vice-chair of the RCGP council, told a Health Select Committee meeting the scheme would be a halfway house to GPSI status.

Dr Archard, who is drawing up the plans, said: 'Many GPs are interested in a clinical area and already take referrals within their own practice. But because of the shortage of GPs, they are reluctant to reduce the time spent on their general workload to become GPSIs.'

The plans provoked a mixed response from doctors.

Dr Jonathan Shribman, a

GPSI in cardiology in Bugbrooke, Northamptonshire, said: 'I could see it being a good way of diverting follow-ups from secondary to primary care.'

But GPSI trainer Professor Ram Dhillon, consultant ENT surgeon at Northwick Park Hospital, London, said: 'It takes longer than a week to brush up on these skills. This is like trying to survive in shark-infested waters in a tiny paddle boat.'

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