The university saw a surge in the number of its F2 doctors entering GP training in 2016, when 22% went on to general practice specilaty training. However, the most recent Careers Destination Report, published by the UK Foundation Programme in December last year, showed that just 6.6% of its medical graduates opted for general practice in 2017.
Last month the university released a short film as part of its ongoing strategy to ‘get students thinking about general practice’ as a potential career path and help 'bust some myths' surrounding the profession.
Watch the full video below
In the film, Dr John Benson, a GP and senior lecturer in general practice in the primary care unit at the university, says: ‘We know that we’re short of GPs at the moment, we know that not enough medical students are going into general practice and we know a lot of the reasons why that is the case. Is it a challenge to get students to think about general practice in Cambridge? The short answer is yes.’
Also featured in the film is University of Cambridge medical student Chloe Gamlin. She says: ‘There are some medical schools where a huge percentage of students go on to do general practice [but] at Cambridge we’re one of the medical schools where less students go off to do general practice.The reason that this happens is because people don’t fully appreciate the opportunities there are for academic research and creating your own special interests - for example in dermatology or sexual health - in general practice.’
Dr Benson says the university is working to help medical students see the wealth of opportunities that general practice has to offer.
‘There’s no doubt that selection in Cambridge prioritises people who are good at science and interested in science and nobody would seek to change that. [But] what I would say and do say to medical students is that, if you’re able (and these students are really able), there’s no reason why you can’t translate that into really good clinical care and do that in what I think is the most difficult clinical environment there is - general practice.’
In June Health Education England revealed that a record number of trainee GPs had been recruited in 2018.
Dr Richard Darnton, director of studies in general practice at the university of Cambridge, said: ‘The most important thing we are doing to encourage our students to think about general practice as a career is to expose them to excellent GP teaching in our network of 180-odd teaching practices across East Anglia and through primary care topic-based learning delivered by our team of GP tutors.
‘Over a fifth of the clinical curriculum at Cambridge is now delivered in primary care. Students tell us that spending large parts of their course consulting with patients in ones and twos with close supervision is incredibly rewarding. It’s a great way to learn about primary care and medicine as a whole.’
Overall, the proportion of F2 doctors going onto specialist training who chose general practice increased between 2016 and 2017 from 33.8% to 35.8%. In 2017 an overwhelming majority of these doctors (91.6%) said that general practice was their first-choice specialty.