Exclusive: NHS Future Forum to demand longer GP training

The NHS Future Forum will demand an extension to GP training in a report on education and training due in December, the group's chairman has revealed.

Professor Field: 'There needs to be flexibility in training programmes to allow people to develop areas of interest'

Professor Steve Field also said the forum would advise the government to align incentives for integration, which could include using the quality premium to encourage collaboration.

Professor Field said he was 'determined' that the report should say GP training needs to be longer, but that it would not define how much longer. Professor Field has previously called for GP training to be extended to five years.

He said it was 'obvious' that GP training was not long enough, and this would become more important as GPs increasingly face more 'complex elderly patients' and 'increasingly complex children'.

'The NHS has moved on in the past two to three years,' he said. 'GP training is not long enough and needs extending.

'But there also needs to be flexibility in longer training programmes to allow people to develop particular areas of interest.'

RCGP chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada said she welcomed the call for longer and more flexible GP training. 'I'm glad Steve is making the recommendation,' she said. But she added: 'As the previous RCGP chairman who took the bid to the DoH asking for five-year training, I am surprised he is not calling for five-year training.'

Professor Field also said that CPD was a 'national disgrace'. He added that during the forum's listening work, concerns were raised over the quality of education and training for primary care nurses.

Professor Field said the NHS needed to do 'everything possible to encourage and develop a culture of collaboration'.

He said one way would be to 'align incentives' in the NHS, and suggested the quality premium, a bonus payment the DoH plans to offer commissioning groups that stay in budget and improve outcomes, could also be used to support integration.

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