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A faulty production line

Medical schools review to recommend 'everyone talks positively' about GPs

The national review of attitudes to general practice in medical schools will be published tomorrow, recommending ‘everyone talks positively’ about the profession.

In an interview with Pulse, Health Education England education and quality director Professor Wendy Reid said this was one of 'wide-ranging' recommendations to feature in the report, which would also look at how to target students earlier to promote general practice as a career.

The medicals schools review was launched in March after GP leaders' warned there was a 'toxic' culture putting students off becoming GPs. Professor Reid told Pulse that 'the recommendations will be quite wide ranging, and will really help us to target, at the very junior level, those people who are not entering general practice'.

Professor Reid said: ‘I don’t want to steal the thunder of the report, but primarily it’s about raising the profile of general practice within medical schools, and also making sure that everybody talks positively about it.

‘This is something that all of us - both as doctors and as teachers - need to understand: the value of general practice to the health community, so there will be some stuff on that in there.’

Professor Reid further said that HEE's new 'targeted' training for medical graduates who failed the MRCGP and doctors changing from other specialties, revealed by Pulse last week, will boost the Government's GP trainee recruitment pledge - on which it is currently failing.

She said the programme would be ‘rolling out in the next few months, to a year’, when HEE has decided on the framework in cooperation with BMA, RCGP and GMC.

And that people entering the scheme, which would see participants come through quicker than the regular three years by tailoring training to account for their previous experience, would count towards Government targets.

She said: 'They would count as GP trainees, because they will have entered through the same tests, they will have been assessed in the same way... It’s a different route to the same end point.'

Currently, the Government is missing its recruitment targets. HEE were mandated to deliver 3,250 GPs starting training this year - a deadline already extended once - though Professor Reid stressed that this year's total of 2,936 is their best ever.

Professor Reid also emphasised that the GPs coming through this route would be as safe in practise as GPs coming through traditional training.

She said: 'They will have to pass the tests to get into general practice, and they will have to do all the same hurdles, so they will be appropriately trained and qualified.'

But RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said: 'Increasing GP numbers is vital, but this must not be to the detriment of patient safety. Any measures to achieve workforce targets must not lower standards of general practice training, or be seen as a way into general practice through the back door.

‘As the body responsible for GP training, it is essential that we are involved in any discussions on this issue. We will be carefully considering the latest proposals from HEE regarding its... programme.’

Attracting doctors to general practice

Professor Reid said the report into toxic cultures is timely following Jeremy Hunt’s announcement last month that the government will commission an extra 1,500 medical school places next year, saying ‘we want to make sure a significant number of those enter general practice'.

She added that they could not ‘put any numbers to it yet’ but the RCGP has previously estimated 400 GP trainees have been blocked from achieving registration after maxing out their attempts at the MRCGP exams.

Outbound RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker has long campaigned for a shake-up of anti-GP attitudes in education

The College launched a ‘ban the bash’ campaign, alongside the Royal College of Psychiatrists, last month to end stigmatising banter faced and has challenged medical schools about their ‘toxic anti-GP culture’.

And HEE said next week’s report, which was led by Professor Valerie Wass who currently chairs the GMC’s assessment board, had been completed in tandem with the Medical Schools Council.

Readers' comments (36)

  • As the old saying goes "you can polish a turd, but it's still a turd". That is GP in a nutshell.
    If the job wasn't so awful there wouldn't be a recruitment crisis.
    Start funding properly for sufficient staff and resources across primary care and the rest will sort itself out.

    Maybe teabags and colouring books Maureen to all medical schools will persuade all those students and secondary care bods that GP is the future, and we'll gain untold respect from our colleagues in secondary care if we share the chocolate coins with them. Yippeeee!

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  • I'm increasingly impressed by young trainees' grip of the real situation.

    I see better attitudes and knowledge of their own self worth.
    To many previous generation talk about the privilege of servitude.

    those days are gone, if the job of GP doesn't improve it'll die.

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  • Ask the majority of coal face GPs what they think of the job.Its crap,I dont want my kids coming into GP land or the medical profession at all.

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  • I agree. I in my long life have had very good general medical practitioners who listened and examine carefully, and prescribed or advised very carefully. I cannot understand this Government's disgusting attitude to doctors. Instead of interfering with this noble profession, the Government should sack itself.

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  • and the problem is fixed with one paper. well done. now watch the mad rush for medical students and juniour doctors to become GP's.

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  • By all means talk positively about the work of being a GP - it's still (just) a very satisfying thing to do. But to talk positively about the JOB - the working conditions - is just plain fraudulent. And projecting that "things can only get better" is just plain foolish.
    We should not deceive the medical graduates of the future - that would be negligent. I'm sure they're bright and perceptive enough to see through the spin and PR.

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  • Mr Mephisto

    Whats the point?

    There will be no General Practice left in the UK once they graduate.

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  • General practice as a speciality is challenging, rewarding and requires a huge breadth of knowledge to be done well. It's the effect of politicians, the media and relentless demand that have added unnecessary pressures and made it a less attractive choice.

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  • After 30 years in full-time GP and having 'got out' preamaturely because of all the well documented reasons and with not so much as a thank you from the NHS I would not advise a career in GP in its current state. Apart from the intellectual and clinical aspects and the pleasure of helping appreciative patients it is a miserable, exhausting and soul destroying role.

    Steer well clear little ones until GP is restored to something worthy of your skills and future dedication.

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  • "Don't mention the war"

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