DH national clinical commissioning network lead for England Dr James Kingsland said long-term conditions care was being 'downsized' in hospitals and moving into community settings.
His comments came as the DH set out plans to modernise medical education and training following recommendations by the NHS Future Forum.
Dr Kingsland said care of conditions such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease and rheumatoid arthritis was moving increasingly out of hospital. 'The consultant is seeing a lower number of complex patients,' he said.
He argued that if care was being moved into the community, doctors' training should follow. 'Doctors need to be trained in an environment where the patients are.'
A DH report published last week, Liberating the NHS: developing the healthcare workforce, welcomed recommendations by both the RCGP and the Future Forum to extend GP training from three to five years. It recognised GP training may currently be too short.
'It is in all our interests to ensure that the next generation of GPs receive the comprehensive and high-quality training that they need and the current training schedule is tight,' the report said.
The DH acknowledged the importance of including commissioners in decisions about training. 'Any changes to the training programme will also need to be discussed with commissioners and providers to understand the impact on services,' the report said.
The DH said it would consider extending GP training and would work with the RCGP to develop its case. This will then be considered by the medical programme board, to make recommendations to Medical Education England in the spring of 2012.