LMCs have voted for ‘more strident efforts’ to be taken to encourage medical students and newly qualified doctors to choose general practice as their medical career path.
During the annual conference for UK LMCs, which is underway in London today and tomorrow, they also called upon governments to provide financial incentives for students choosing a career as a GP.
The motion was proposed by Dr Liam Hosie, from Wigan LMC, who said: ‘Can we incentivise people at the start of their training journey to choose general practice as an appropriate career choice?
‘There are some key facts about students graduating: it can take up to 40 years to repay a student loan, some people never ever actually managed to do that, we know that there’s a gender disparity – it takes female doctors longer to pay back student loans than it takes the male doctors, and that is completely unfair.
‘I graduated in 2000 from Manchester, I didn’t pay any tuition fees and I was very fortunate in that – contrast that to our colleagues now.
‘Incentives should be offered for junior doctors to choose general practice as a career path and include debt relief.
‘This motion will not put GPs in our surgeries next week but it will do sometime in the future.’
Speaking in favour of the motion, Dr Paul Evans, from Gateshead and South Tyneside LMC, said: ‘I was MOD-sponsored and indeed it got me through university and potentially saved my medical career, as I was struggling to work fulltime and study at the same time.
‘Now that debts are greater this is worthwhile to consider. What is being proposed is incentives that come with a tie-in: you give us, the NHS, x-numbers of years of your life and in return we give you x-amount of money, it’s a trade.
‘What is there to lose? Our workforce is falling fast and it’s not as if other methods are working.’
Dr Rami Eliad, from Hertfordshire LMC, who spoke against the motion, said: ‘When a bucket is leaking, we need to stop the leak, as any amount of filling will result in an empty bucket – many more medical students in training, many more GP registrars in training, many more GPs joining the profession yet as we have heard repeatedly an ongoing drop in in full-time equivalent GPs.’
The motion passed in all parts.
The new-to-partnership scheme has offered ‘golden handshakes’ in the form of £20,000 for GPs to take on practice ownership in some underserved areas since 2020.
Motion in full
AGENDA COMMITTEE TO BE PROPOSED BY WIGAN: That conference believes that more strident efforts should be taken to induce medical students and newly qualified doctors to choose general practice as their medical career path, and calls upon governments to provide financial incentives:
(i) that provide an MOD-style sponsorship for GP VTS
(ii) that include a medical student debt cancellation scheme
(iii) with eligibility based on a prescribed number of years’ service as a salaried or principal GP.
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