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New medical school set to offer early exposure to general practice

University of Worcester’s new medical school will champion general practice with the hope of producing more GPs.

The Three Counties Medical School, which will open its doors to students in September 2021, will feature 10 days of primary care placements in year one and 10 days in year two, to try and attract students to a career in general practice.

The 20-day placement over the first two years is ‘more than many traditional medical schools’, according to the course’s development dean, Professor John Cookson.

Professor Cookson said: ‘Because the country is very short of GPs – the area which we serve, the three counties, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, are also very short of GPs – it’s very difficult to attract people to rural areas, so the need is considerable.

‘So we’re aiming at general practice. There’s plenty of evidence that courses that have a lot of general practice in them tend to produce graduates that go into general practice.’

The four-year graduate medical course will also provide 15 weeks of secondary care exposure in the first two years.

And Professor Cookson added: ‘But it’s important to say that the course will provide, as it must, training suitable for doctors to go into any area of medical practice. We’re not training GPs, we’re providing a lot of general practice which we hope will lead people to choose general practice as a career. ‘

The news comes as part of a Government pledge for 1,500 extra medical school places in England, which would be geared towards general practice, although only 500 of those came on stream this year.

It also comes as health education bosses have recruited record numbers of GP trainees this year, surpassing their target of 3,250 for the first time.