Competence fears over GP trainees

A survey by the PMETB shows trainers believe they are not supported.

Dr Alison Glenesk: trainees are  much younger and need more support
Dr Alison Glenesk: trainees are much younger and need more support

A significant proportion of GP trainers have concerns about the competence of their trainees, a survey reveals.

A survey of all UK trainers by the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB), appears to show that nearly a third of GP trainers have concerns.

They were asked how many of their current trainees were not showing the expected competences for their level of training and whether trainees were less confident and less able to work independently than in the past. Findings from the two questions were presented as a composite measure.

Dr Malcolm Lewis, director of postgraduate education for general practice in Wales, said the finding was strong evidence for increasing GP training from three to five years.

The Committee of General Practice Education Directors (COGPED), the RCGP and the GPC were all working together to present a case to extend GP training, he added.

Dr Alison Glenesk, a GP trainer in Aberdeen, said trainees were now much younger that the lack of confidence was predictable.

'We are seeing trainees in their first year whereas before it was always in their third. So when they are making decisions it's not really surprising they need more support.'

The survey also revealed a lack of confidence among GP trainers themselves, with almost a fifth believing they had not had enough training to reliably assess a trainee's competence and provide them with feedback.

Up to one in eight appear to be unclear on their role, while a similar number did not believe they knew enough about trainee performance to give a reliable and valid assessment.

Dr Lewis said the figures were probably the result of a large number of changes to GP training being implemented over the past few years.

Dr Glenesk said she was surprised at the findings but that many trainers found it difficult to juggle a full-time job and being a GP trainer.

Although her own area had provided plenty of training and ongoing support with the new assessment systems, she felt there were many trainers who were not so fortunate.

GPletters@haymarket.com

GP trainer survey

  • Up to a third had concerns about trainee competence.
  • 20% felt they had not had adequate training to reliably assess a trainee's competence and give feedback.
  • Up to one in eight are not clear on their training role and responsibilities.
  • A similar proportion did not know enough about their trainee's performance to give a reliable and valid assessment.

Source: PMETB

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