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GPs go forth

GP trainees to spend longer training in general practice under new contract

GP trainees are to spend 24 months out of their 36-month training period in general practice from 2022 under the new GP contract.

The move was announced in the contract agreement between NHS England and the BMA, and follows calls in the past from the RCGP to lengthen the amount of time GP trainees spend in general practice.

Currently, GP trainees spend one and a half years of their time in hospitals, and one and a half years in general practice.

But the new contract states: ’The GP training model will… undergo significant reform, as proposed by the Royal College of GPs. Out of their three-year training programme, GP trainees currently spend around half of this working in a hospital setting.

’From 2022, to support better training for GPs, and a more balanced distribution of trainee capacity across the NHS, the proportion of time that GP trainees spend in general practice during their training will rise from 18 months to 24 months.’

It also announced that GP training places will increase from 3,500 to 4,000 a year from 2021, building on the success of recent trainee recruitment.

Meanwhile, the Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme (TERs) – which aims to encourage GP trainees to work in under-doctored areas – is set to expand from the 276 current places to ‘at least’ 500 in 2021, rising to ‘at least’ 800 in 2022.

All international medical graduates entering general practice training will also be offered a fixed five-year NHS contract from 2020/21.

The increase in trainees, together with the extended general practice training period, is expected to contribute ‘over half’ of the 6,000 more GPs promised by 2024, according to NHS England

Lancashire and Cumbria LMCs chief executive Peter Higgins welcomed the changes to ensure GP trainees spend more time in general practice, and the boost to trainee numbers, but questioned how practices would paid to support them.

He said: 'The only issue to be addressed is the capacity within general practice to receive these students and the remuneration of practices for doing so.

'They’re still paid less than they’re paid for hospital placements and I think they’re paid about half what it actually costs the practice. That’s something that needs to be addressed because we need desperately to get these trainees out, we need to give them a good experience in practices and we need therefore to convert them into new GPs.’

The training announcement comes as the BMA yesterday secured the new contract with NHS England, after voting down the previous negotiated deal.

The contract outlines several measures to boost recruitment and retention of GPs, including an uncapped budget to provide a £20,000 golden handshake for those who take up partnership roles, in order to meet the Government’s target of 6,000 more GPs by 2024.

There was also support for parents in the contract. From April 2020, GPs on the Induction and Refresher Scheme with children aged under 11 will be able to claim up to £2,000 towards the cost of childcare for each child while on the scheme (or £1,000 for those on the Portfolio Route). 

Readers' comments (13)

  • Cool.

    So that'll be 4 years once you add in 2 periods of maternity leave ;-)

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  • So less specialty training?

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  • Worried about remuneration? How about having an extra doctor doing 6-7 sessions per week??

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  • Worried about remuneration? How about having an extra doctor doing 6-7 sessions per week??

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  • surely specialty training is about the opportunity to see rarer presentations and so increase the likelyhood of recogniding them in the community? 1yr of speciality training seems very short. 3 years training is already very short in comparison to other specialties especially for such abroad speciality and it therefore no wonder we have seen the invention and rise of the noctor.In the space of a couple a couple of generations we have gone from being integral parts of the community delivering hands on care across a broad swathe of medicine to seeing our job chipped back to a desk based , target lead , pathway following dumping ground for the left over that no one else wants or cannot be delivered cheaper elsewhere!

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  • So a year to get secondary care experience of paediatrics, psychiatry, O+G? Or does this year also provide training in another field such as General Medicine too? Either way, the subsequent 2 years in GP land are to provide the fine-tuning (by GPs who are likely to have 6 months in these 3 or 4 areas in secondary care)in these areas?

    "Just a GP" as it currently stands is going to be an unwarranted accolade for these 21st century Noctors, and requires the creation of a new-term to make a distinction between this breed and noctors as we currently understand it.

    This also makes allowing pharmacists to get medically qualified in 3 years a reasonable approach, and quite probably a route to getting a modified version of MRCGP.

    Secondary care scorn towards primary care can only increase, and will become even more warranted as they see all providers of primary care as equivalently inept.

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  • More dumbing down of this profession in the name of “service provision”. Great. Just employ an army of trainee slaves, teach them nothing and then thrust them into the meat grinder to satisfy demand for non appointments by a clueless uneducated public dealing with non medical issues. Long term this isn’t going to solve anything. The situation will worsen

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  • GP trainees need more time in secondary care clinics and A&E. That's the only way to create true diagnostic ability, by seeing what needs referral and what doesn't.

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  • Not long enough in hospital at all especially considering since ' my day ' in the 1980s hospital doctors work shifts and not 4 day on calls ( which were terrible but you did gain a lot of experience) .

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  • This is what happens when the GMC ( non professional body not run by the profession itself ) takes control of medical education. Why did our royal colleges allow this to happen? Shame

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