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RCGP issues warning over GP training extension

By Steve Nowottny

The RCGP has welcomed proposals to extend GP training to five years – but warned it would ‘not tolerate' the extra training being used as an ‘excuse to staff hospitals'.

The final report of the independent inquiry into Modernising Medical Careers, led by Professor Sir John Tooke, called for GP training to be extended from three to five years, with three years in core training followed by two years as a GP specialist registrar, supervised by a Director of Postgraduate GP Education.

It also recommended that Foundation Year 2 training be scrapped, resulting in a net increase in the total training time to become a GP of one year.

Extending training would bring the UK in line with other developed European countries, the Tooke Report concluded, and would better equip GPs for an increasingly complex role.

‘The move to more care in the community in the face of increasing chronic disease complexity and rising public expectation demands more sophisticated ‘front end' services, of which the GP will be a crucial part,' it said.

Professor Steve Field, RCGP chair, told Pulse the report was a ‘fantastic opportunity', which the college strongly supported.

But he added that it was essential directors of postgraduate GP education took charge of the three years of core training as well as the two years of speciality training.

‘What we mustn't have is a system which is led by specialists,' he said. ‘We must ensure that this isn't just an excuse for providing SHO type placements to staff hospitals. We will not tolerate that.'

‘We must make sure that we don't end up with rotations of posts that are only there to staff our hospitals, because the evidence from the past is that that does not work. If the GP directors are in charge we can ensure that they are focused on the education of the GPs of the future.'

Professor Steve Field, RCGP chair Professor Steve Field, RCGP chair

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