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Hospital doctors to be given easier path to join general practice

Hospital doctors will be offered an easier route into general practice under proposals ratified by health education chiefs today.

The RCGP and Health Education England will develop a new programme that will support doctors qualified in other specialties to become GPs.

This will include recognition of existing competencies that could mean doctors with a previous specialty could have their training shortened after a 12 month performance review.

Under a series of recommendations announced today, struggling GP trainees will also be provided with more personalised training, while HEE and the RCGP will develop a programme to make it easier for overseas GPs to join UK general practice.

Many of these recommendations were first proposed last year, and HEE said it will take them forward subject to some amendments following an enthusiastic response.

The plans – part of the ‘Targeted GP Training Programme’ – are designed to smooth the passage of doctors from outside the profession, and trainees who have previously failed MRCGP exams. This comes after Pulse revealed the College might allow trainees a further attempt at the Clinical Skills Assessment of the MRCGP exam in future.

Under the proposals:

  • GP trainees who fail components of the MRCGP will be given more personalised training to take into include ‘specific interventions to address issues of differential attainment’;
  • HEE and the RCGP will work together to expand the ‘transferable competences framework’ by autumn 2017, which will mean doctors who are trained in another specialty will be able to use their experience to shorten their length of GP training;
  • GP training will be extended by 12 months in the first instance for trainees who need extra support, bringing it in line with other specialties;
  • Non-EU overseas GPs who have been identified by the GMC as needing additional training to meet UK competencies will be able to have training in the NHS without having to enrol as a GP trainee – which was originally thought to be the only way to join the GP performers list without being fully qualified.

Professor Simon Gregory, director and dean of education and quality, Midlands and East said the proposals ‘offer a number of routes to support doctors to enter and successfully complete GP Training whilst maintaining the gold standard of MRCGP as exit criteria.’

‘In particular, this would help doctors who are progressing in training but not able to do so sufficiently in the time allowed.’

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GP committee workforce lead, said:We are pleased that the review of evidence from HEE supports the BMA’s calls for personalised training.

‘There are a number of reasons why some trainees may fail their exams and the current system and time limits unfairly disadvantage some of the more diverse groups of doctors.’