Fund four-year GP training now, RCGP says

Funding for extended GP training must be agreed urgently, GP leaders have said, after a major independent review backed calls to lengthen it to four years.

Professor Clare Gerada: fund training
Professor Clare Gerada: fund training

The Shape of Training review, chaired by Nottingham University vice chancellor Professor David Greenaway, found that GPs will ‘probably need at least four years of training to meet their outcomes and enter professional practice’.

The independent review published on 29 October also called for more integrated training across primary and secondary care to support the shift of services into the community.

Medical Education England backed the RCGP’s call to extend GP training to four years last April but funding for this has yet to materialise.

RCGP chairwoman Professor Clare Gerada said: ‘This is a powerful boost for our bid to extend GP training to at least four years so that GPs of the future are well prepared to meet the changing needs of our patients.

‘This is the latest in a series of reviews to have concluded that GPs need at least four years training. This makes sound educational sense and is good for patients. The four governments of the UK must now deliver the funding for it without delay.

‘We are also pleased that the report does not focus solely on hospitals but that it emphasises the importance of generalism and the need for experts in "whole person medicine", as first proposed by our own Commission on Generalism in 2012.’

Chairman of the BMA GP trainees subcommittee Dr Krishna Kasaraneni raised concerns that the report’s proposals could delay extended GP training.

He said: ‘The BMA supports the concept of broader based training that incorporates generic capabilities, which could enable doctors to train more flexibly and possibly alleviate some of the pressures facing the GP workforce.

‘However, the report fails to give a clear indication of how it will impact the currently proposed enhanced GP training, which recommends increasing GP training from three years to four years.

‘While this report contains several positive suggestions it lacks detail and is potentially suggesting that, even before the enhanced GP training proposals are put into place, GP training should go back to the drawing board yet again.

'Further work is needed to explore the report’s findings and the implications of its recommendations before moving to implementation.’

A DH spokeswoman said: ‘We want to make sure that world class medical training is available for our NHS workforce so that they can deliver the best care to patients and the wider population.

‘Health Education England is currently looking at options to enhance GP training, including the RCGP’s proposals for extending the length of GP training programmes, and are due to report to the department at the end of this year. Ministers will then decide how they want to take these proposals forward.’

The Welsh government also said talks about funding extended GP training were ongoing.

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