Exclusive: Threat hangs over GP placements for foundation doctors

GP placements for foundation doctors are under threat, an investigation by GP newspaper has found.

The Committee of General Practice education Directors (COGPED) is so worried at the relative loss of placements that they have asked Professor Justin Allen, primary care adviser to the DoH's Foundation Programme, to count placements in all deaneries.

Dr Bill Reith, chairman of the RCGP's postgraduate training board, said that as numbers of foundation doctors rise, the proportion of GP placements is dropping ‘woefully'.

In Wales, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland only 25% of F2 doctors work in general practice.

In Severn deanery it's 39%. The next lowest are Oxford (50%) and West Yorkshire and West Midlands (both 53%).

Dr Reith said: ‘This is a concern. We know that once foundation doctors have seen what general practice is like, they increasingly realise that work is being transferred into the community.'

Some deaneries supplement GP placements with community slots.

Peninsula deanery in the south west of England has an alternative placement for 17% of its F2 doctors and 45% in general practice.

It's not for want of trying, said Dr Anne Edwards, Foundation School director at Oxford deanery.

‘GPs can't accommodate the F2 doctors now that VTS training in general practice is longer. It's a serious problem.'

The DoH in England has already backtracked on its promises of GP placements for foundation doctors. In 2005 it pledged placements for all, triggering a letter of thanks from COGPED. By 2006 it dropped its commitment to 55 per cent.

prisca.middlemiss@haymarket.com

  • Read the full investigation into the RCGP push for five-year training in the last issue of GP dated 7 August.
  • You can debate this story on our Young GP Forum

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