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Watch: How many trainers will we need to meet GP workforce targets?

This Pulse video looks into what training capacity will be necessary to fulfil the Government’s workforce commitments

The Government has committed to a 50% increase in GP training places, as well as an increase in medical students and the amount of time trainees spend in general practice.

What’s changing?

Currently, GP trainers provide support and education for three medical cohorts – students, foundation doctors, and GP specialty trainees. They can be clinical or educational supervisors, which includes supervising surgeries, one-to-one tutorials and validating paperwork.

Medical students

Medical students join general practice for short stints, as part of a rotation across primary, secondary, or community settings. The time they spend in general practice varies across the different medical schools, but it’s usually between two and four months spread across a five-year degree.

The plan commits to doubling the number of medical school places in England, from 7,500 now to 15,000 by 2031.

Although there is no suggestion in the plan about increasing students’ exposure to general practice, in the past few years there have been moves to make medical schools more GP-friendly, including incentivising new medical schools to encourage students to enter the profession.

Foundation training

For those who go on to do their foundation training, just over half of them will complete a four-month GP placement in their second year.

While no specific number of foundation places is given, the plan says growth will be ‘commensurate’ with medical school increases.

The plan also commits to all foundation year doctors doing at least one four-month placement in general practice by 2030 – up from the 55% who do so currently.

GP specialty training

NHS England pledged to increase specialty training places by 50%, from 4,000 to 6,000 by 2031, with the first 500 new places available in September 2025.

For more on this, read our full analysis.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Turn out The Lights 21 August, 2023 6:10 pm

You wont and the Tories wont be in power in 18 months,so they are not really that bothered and will leave it for someone else to clear up.

G Raj 21 August, 2023 6:18 pm

I’ve just given up bring a trainer. It’s far too stressful! The paperwork involved is intense and it just doesn’t pay enough

The advantage is recruitment but the time involved before just isn’t worth it . Like most things in GP they will need to look at pay and reducing the workload involved with being a trainer

John Graham Munro 21 August, 2023 7:10 pm

I’ll keep asking———why does one have to ”train” to be a G.P?

Adam Grey 21 August, 2023 8:32 pm

I’m not sure I understand your question? Do you mean why is there specific training to be a GP after foundation training or am I missing something?

John Graham Munro 21 August, 2023 9:43 pm

Adam Grey————–If you cannot deal with a patient on getting full registration you should not be in the profession

Keith M Laycock 22 August, 2023 6:08 am

Of course I could be wrong but after 6 years @ Edinburgh Med School followed by a year as an in-hospital resident House Officer, I seemed to be well-trained and able enough to take up a GP position in a Yorkshire mining community and do pretty well – nobody died from my lack of training.

If a medical student graduates but then has to undergo further training to be acceptably competent, the problem lies with
the medical school’s curriculum and it’s students lack of exposure to what a graduate will face in medical practice ‘in the field’.

Adam Crowther 22 August, 2023 8:32 am

I think the days of doing an appendicectomy, emergency c section and AAA repair as a newly qualified are over too! General Practice is a complex speciality now. Those of us who are fortunate enough to have enough experience may find the job challenging imagine if you didn’t have that 🤔

a S 22 August, 2023 10:15 am

I don’t see why we need so many GP’s. There is very little locum work avalible and more and more GP shifts are being replaced with physician associate and NP shifts. Many GP’s can’t find any work so are moving into other careers. The market is saturated and locum rates are falling. There is no money to employ more GP’s. .

Syed Salman Ashraf 22 August, 2023 1:17 pm

@JGM: Try being a passenger in a plane with a pilot who has not completed inflight training hours.

John Graham Munro 22 August, 2023 3:05 pm

Syed Salman Ashraf———-there once was no vocational training——-no one was any the worse off even then

Decorum Est 24 August, 2023 3:06 pm

Doctors/GPs seemed to have manage quite well training themselves by picking attachments themselves, that suited their vocational plan, before MMC (Modernising Medical Careers). The RCGP hasn’t in fact added any value by introducing ICE and teach professionals to introduce themselves as Rosie, Tom etc. A lot of GP training is a waste of scare resources!