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Earmark GP training funds or fail on GP recruitment target, Dixon tells Government

Government plans for half of medical students choosing to become GPs by 2016 will fail unless medical schooling is reformed and given ‘earmarked’ GP funding, a leading GP has warned.

Speaking at the organiation’s annual conference in London today, NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon stressed the importance of exposure to general practice to encourage medical students to choose the specialism.

And he warned that trainees would not pick general practice unless they get more exposure to the profession.

The call comes as Pulse revealed that GPC is setting up a taskforce to campaign for equitable funding for training and placements in GP practices.

The Department of Health has mandated Health Education England to train an additional 3,250 GPs by 2016.

But Dr Dixon said: ‘The secretary of state is quite right to say we need 50% of doctors to become GPs. But it won’t happen unless we revolutionise a flawed system that currently gives training doctors minimum exposure to primary care, then channels all the funding for primary care education through hospitals and then… through secondary care-dominated medical schools.’

‘If we want the money to go in to GP training then it must be earmarked centrally for GP training.’

Readers' comments (10)

  • Training funds are a small part of the issue.

    The major issue is that NHS-E and HMG have made GP so utterly unattractive that no-one wants to do it anyway.

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  • I think this so-called strategy is absolute rubbish!
    The biggest barrier to recruitment in general practice is the job as its stands.
    If working conditions are poor and job satisfaction is low no medical graduate is going to want to be a GP.

    Traditionally general practice was never highlighted as a career choice but plenty of doctors became GPs when considering their own aspirations for career and family life etc.

    Now that the work-life balance is as poor (or in many cases worse) than a hospital job it is no surprise that medical graduate don't want to touch it.

    ... increasing their exposure to general practice without actually improving the working lives of GPs is likely to push more students away.

    If I had known what I know now I would never have opted for GP.... sad but true.

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  • As above comments. How can the NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon miss the point so hugely?

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  • I quite agree with the comments above. Having taken VER nearly 2 yrs ago after a 30 year 'sentence' as a GP partner I can confirm that the job is now definitely the pits! The first 15 years or so were almost enjoyable but the remainder took a steady downhill course I'm afraid. Med students & newly qualified docs beware - avoid GP like the plague!!

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  • This guy is (sadly) completely missing the point-The problem is not lack of exposure of trainees, it is that with all the public and press exposure of GP pressure, trainees don't want to ruin their lives by becoming a GP-hardly unreasonable of them!!

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  • Agree with all the above.
    While increased investment in GP training in medical school should be a good thing, I feel that it would put off more people than it attracts as they see the reality. General Practice is a miserable place to be and is getting worse. Don't do it!

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  • Took Early Retirement

    Look at the small print of the autumn statement. 1% pay rises for the next 3 years- if you're lucky.

    I wonder just how much faeces the UK GPs will continue to eat before they say "Enough!"

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  • As all the above have stated, and we all know 12% of training places were not filled this year. Make the job worth doing, respected, stop the huge number of people we are answerable to (GMC, CQC, NHS England) and the threats of 7 day working. Then you might possibly have a chance.....though highly unlikley. Needs more...much much more....

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  • I am a GP Registrar just about to complete my training, there is nothing attractive about this job other than the patients and the satisfaction I get from helping them through their illnesses. The paperwork, the huge burden placed on salaried GPs and the long hours are appalling. The majority of my colleagues who have finished are refusing to take up salaried posts and are doing locums and OOH instead to avoid paperwork and home visits whilst getting paid more with the flexibility to suit them. Without changing the role of salaried drs, increasing the pay or reducing the paperwork and pressures placed upon them there is no point trying to get more GP trainees. No matter how many GPs you train they will see the light and either locum, do OOH or emigrate. We have plenty of GPs, just not enough willing to be 'proper' GPs in salaried posts.

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  • 'importance of exposure to general practice to encourage medical students to choose the specialism.'
    Change of trousers needed!

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