Students gain community view
I have been involved with training for six years and believe that to make general practice attractive we need to get medical students allocated into the community.
The core of the learning is done in fourteen-week blocks. The students go out to a practice one day each week (preferably in pairs) and sit in with a GP. This exposes them to our varied daily routine, and mix of interesting clinical problems. They also get a flavour of other primary care roles, such as practice nurses and district nurses. During surgery they may have a chance to talk to and examine the patient under supervision. Some students do a special study module, looking in depth at a topic, which can be a useful learning tool for the practice as well.
The GPs do not need to be experienced teachers as the training sessions are organised by the university. Instead, the students have a contact person in the practice, usually the practice manager.
Participating practices are rewarded at a rate of around £2,000 for every pair of students. Shorter periods are paid pro rata. But aside from this, having students visit in this way can be very stimulating.
Dr Anita Sharma