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RCGP to continue pushing for four-year training

The RCGP said it was ‘disappointed’ that its call for a minimum of four years’ training has been rejected by an independent review of postgraduate medical training, but said it would continue lobbying for a change in length.

The State of Training report released last week said that GP training should continue to be three years, plus the option of a one year fellowship scheme for trainees who wished to expand their skills, arguing that our year training was ‘proving to be unpopular with trainees despite many having a high quality educational content.’

But Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the RCGP, said they had ‘concerns’ with the model being proposed.

She said: ’It is the clearly stated position of the College that GP training should be a minimum of four years in length – and that the extra training time should be spent based in general practice. This was reconfirmed at our governing Council meeting in February, and the idea of a ‘3+1’ model – whereby an additional year could be undertaken after the mandatory CCT training programme – was rejected, so we are disappointed with the outcome of this report.’

She added: ‘We have serious concerns that a ‘3+1’ model would not offer a consistent and appropriate training experience, nor sufficiently prepare qualifying GPs for new models of general practice, the ongoing move of services from secondary care to the community, and the increasingly complex needs of the patient population – in the way that an enhanced four-year training programme would.’

She pointed out that general practice has the broadest curriculum and the shortest speciality training programme.

Professor Stokes-Lampard said it was a ‘paradox’ and the college’s calls for a four-year training programme had been accepted in the original Shape of Training Review.

She added: ‘With the changing landscape of general practice, we want our future GPs to be as confident to practise independently as possible – and it is our view that extending GP training by at least a year is the best way to do this.