Dr Robin While, chairman of the GP school at the Severn Deanery, said a change in MRCGP exams had made it harder for exceptional trainees to stand out.
In the past high exam scores were recognised with a ‘distinction’. But, due to a change in the exam format, this option no longer exists.
Following the change, the deanery set up a range of GP trainee awards schemes to recognise high achievers. Staff at the deanery believe the awards are unique in the UK.
‘We realised two years ago that many of our trainees achieve way more than the completion of MRCGP during their training,’ Dr While told GP. ‘They work in deprived areas or countries, for example.’
‘Recognising this, and because the MRCGP withdrew the outstanding achievement award, the awards were a way to enable people who are outstanding to enhance their record and CV and get a job in an increasingly tough environment.’
The deanery’s GP trainee excellence awards 2012 marked the second year of the scheme.
Trainees competed for awards for clinical excellence, leadership, research, personal achievement outside medicine and other categories.
‘We developed a rigorous scoring process, using GP educationalists and lay people on a judging panel,’ Dr While said. 'Candidates have to be nominated by someone, complete a questionnaire about what they have done, and we score them. They have to make a presentation at the awards ceremony, which is also judged.’
Dr While said he believed strongly that other deaneries should follow Severn’s example.
‘It is something we think should be rolled out to other deaneries. Not as a national competition, but within each,' he said.
‘We think it’s a good model that works - we couple it with the end of the academic year, when all MRCGP results will be presented.’
All trainees attend the event, shortlisted candidates receive certificates, and winners receive a £200 cash prize.