Exclusive More than 90% of all GP trainees in England will spend two years in general practice from August, Health Education England (HEE) has said.
Previously, GP trainees spent one and a half years of their time in hospitals and one and a half years in general practice within the three-year training programme.
But since August 2021, HEE has phased in two-year general practice placements for GP trainees.
The move was announced in the 2022 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.
By August 2022, almost all newly-recruited GP trainees will start GP programmes that include 24 months in general practice.
HEE’s primary care medical director Professor Simon Gregory told Pulse: ‘Since August 2021, newly-recruited trainees have been experiencing a GP training programme that increases their time in general practice.
‘This change is being made in a phased way across the country with more than 90% of newly-recruited GP trainees from August 2022 now starting GP programmes that include 24 months in general practice.’
He added: ‘The 24-month model gives GP specialty trainees more time in general practice and makes GP more attractive to applicants.
‘It’s widely accepted that the best place to learn general practice is in general practice, and whilst the pressure on placements is significant, educators and trainees have welcomed this move.’
HEE figures have revealed that it is on track to meet its August target of 4k new GP trainees, with almost all GP specialty training places filled in round one of recruitment this year.
However, the RCGP has demanded action to avoid a 19,000-strong ‘mass exodus’ of GPs and trainees over the next five years and a ‘staggering’ BMA survey found that one in eight GP trainees will choose not to become GPs in future.
In one area, HEE are paying GP practices £10,000 to take on new trainees amid a shortage of available posts.
Meanwhile, the BMA and RCGP said that all health professionals working in secondary care should spend ‘at least’ a year working in general practice as part of their training.