The films were commissioned by Head of School for GP Specialty Training Dr Bob Kirk and GP recruitment manager Sally Howorth, and were recently screened to all doctors attending for Stage 3 assessment.
Dr Kirk said: ‘The films feature our GP trainees from the present and recent past talking persuasively about their own experiences. This proved of great interest to the 400 or so potential recruits and we felt gave them added confidence in their choice of GP as a career.’
The films were produced by Bolton GP Dr Anne Hawkridge and followed collaboration with GP and NIHR Clinical Lecturer Dr Sharon Spooner and her team at Manchester University.
In order to identify potential drivers behind specialty career choice, the GPs drew on research findings from a survey of junior doctors’ future training intentions carried out in late 2015 and early 2016.
During this period, F2 doctors from across England were asked to indicate which sort of characteristics they would find attractive in their future work and the extent to which they associated these characteristics with general practice.
Their survey responses and interviews allowed researchers to identify where preferred job characteristics were closely related to GP work and therefore worth highlighting. Some also indicated that proposed changes to hospital contracts had made general practice more attractive.
The films focus on a range of themes linked to this research, including a strong desire for high quality teaching, training and support. General Practice has a consistently excellent record in this area according to the GMC’s national training surveys.
The doctors also sought to combine interesting medicine with the rewards of working with patients and in teams of healthcare professionals. Continuity and community were valued, as was a sustainable work-life balance.
Flexible career paths, including location, working patterns and the ability to pursue special interests, were also highly valued when deciding on career choice.
Two of the trainees appearing in the films, Dr Tom Micklewright and Dr Heather Ryan, said: ‘It was such a positive experience to be involved and we feel confident that the themes covered by the films will encourage foundation doctors to think of general practice as being an attractive career choice.’