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Going undergrad: how we are encouraging the next generation of GPs



dr andy ward crop

Lakeside Surgery in Corby may well have made medical education history, as for one busy week recently we hosted 28 medical students on one practice site.

To be fair, Lakeside is one of the biggest practices in the UK with 48,000 patients registered at the Corby site. The surgery has a long history of teaching Leicester University medical students and has been providing placements for 12 students at a time since 2015. We take pride in our educational work and this has been reflected in excellent feedback from the students.

In 2016 we were named Outstanding Clinical Team of the Year by the medical school. Building on this success, the practice welcomed our first cohort of 12 Cambridge University medical students at the end of January, joining an unusually large group of Leicester students for a record week. Going forwards, we intend to offer 24 placements throughout the year.

Undergraduate training has become a key part of the practice’s business, reflected in the commitment we have made to providing an excellent experience for the students. All staff are engaged in making the students feel welcome and all GPs take part in teaching. The scale of the attachments has enabled us to appoint an administrator to look after the students and organise their timetables.

A complex timetable has been designed to allow the students to get as much consulting time as possible

GPs are given protected time to teach and supervise students and I have been given the role of Education Lead partner, with a session per week to oversee and develop the project. A complex timetable has been designed to allow the students to get as much consulting time as possible, as well as a full small group teaching programme.These steps have meant that we are well placed to meet increasing demand for medical student placements in primary care, and benefit from a reliable and growing source of finance.

Students from both Universities have been very enthusiastic. Evangeline Seah from Cambridge said: ‘It has been a real privilege to be in Lakeside Surgery for our GP placement. Everyone here is incredibly friendly and welcoming. The GPs are really enthusiastic about teaching and have been very encouraging as we learn from them.

‘We’ve all benefited and learnt a lot from being under the guidance of such a dedicated team of doctors. Being here at Lakeside Surgery has also given us the wonderful opportunity to meet students from the University of Leicester and to share experiences and build new friendships. As a first-year clinical student, I really couldn’t have asked for a better placement than Lakeside Surgery to learn about and be exposed to primary healthcare.’

Daisy Livingstone from Leicester agreed: ‘I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here in Corby – everyone at Lakeside practice has been extremely welcoming and the block is very organised, striking a balance between professionalism and friendliness to provide an excellent educational opportunity.’

We hope that all our efforts will encourage students who have been placed in our practice to choose a career in general practice and in doing so, help to provide Lakeside with our future workforce.

Dr Andrew Ward is a GP partner in Corby, Northamptonshire