Editorial: The value of GP trainers must be reflected in pay

Training practices have had a busy year or so. Along with introducing the new curriculum, trainers are now required to become educational supervisors for trainees while they undertake the hospital component of their training.

This, coupled with the time GP trainers already spend on CPD tutorials and general supervision, and the cost involved in setting up and running a training practice, lead the BMA to call for a significant increase in the training grant in its submission to the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body (DDRB) this year.

The training grant currently stands at a mere £7,485. As the BMA points out, this is clearly inadequate to cover the costs involved.

The DoH has recognised that the situation must change - it has agreed to set up an independent review group to consider remuneration. However, as yet, there is little sign that there has been any progress on this.

This is all very convenient for a government that is trying to keep costs down.

As things currently stand, the DoH is asking the DDRB not to increase the training grant by more than the increase salaried doctors will receive. And it seems unlikely it will contemplate a significant uplift until its review group has reported back.

In the meantime, GP trainers will be left with a paltry sum with which to work.

What is most surprising about all of this is that from next year the number of GP training places is set to increase by 13 per cent under plans set out in Lord Darzi's Next Stage Review workforce strategy.

To develop this next generation of GPs the DoH will need to have good trainers in place. It has made a start by pledging £100 million in the pre-budget report to enable 600 GP surgeries to upgrade to become training practices (28 November). But this will make little impact if the training grant is too small to cover the work involved for GP trainers.

GP trainers play a hugely important role. It is time the DoH acknowledged this and remunerated them appropriately for the work that they do.

More opinion online

Read more opinion from the GP editorial team in the editor's blog at www.healthcarerepublic.com/blogs. This is what the team had to say this week

  • "Government's efforts to tackle binge drinking Is the government's ban on 'all you can drink' promotions a case of locking the stable door after the horse has bolted (or downing a glass of water, if you will, after half a dozen pints of 'Wifebeater')?"
  • "PCTs cut back dementia services With rates of dementia likely to increase dramatically over the next decade, it is vital that we start planning for the future and ensure the NHS can meet current and future need - at present it is clearly unable to."

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