GP trainees 'risk failing' over lack of time in general practice, GPC warns

Some GP trainees may fail to qualify because UK deaneries are using them to plug staff shortages in hospitals rather than allowing them to spend enough time in general practice, GP leaders have warned.

Dr Kasaraneni: Trainees risk failing to qualify
Dr Kasaraneni: Trainees risk failing to qualify

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, GPC trainee sub-committee chairman, said he was aware of three deaneries in the UK that are not giving GP trainees the minimum requirement of 18 months in general practice.

In some cases, he said, trainees are being asked to cover shifts during hospital staff shortages, meaning they are spending too little time in general practice.

He warned that the three deaneries identified 'could be the tip of the iceberg', with many more missing the target.

GP trainees must spend a minimum of 18 months in general practice, according to guidance by the RCGP and the Committee of General Practice Education Directors (COGPED).

Dr Kasaraneni said he will name and shame the deaneries doing this at the BMA’s annual representative meeting (ARM), which will be held in Edinburgh from 23 to 27 June.

Motions put forward by Dr Kasaraneni call on the BMA to lobby COGPED to ensure adherence to the current guidelines for GP training.

Another motion demands that COGPED should name and shame the deaneries that fail to adhere to its guidance. Representatives will also call for a minimum of 24 months training in general practice when four year GP training is implemented.

Dr Kasaraneni said: ‘Both COGPED and the RCGP say to safely deal with the current curriculum, which has been heavily revised since 1980s, 18 months is required in general practice for trainees.

‘Something has to be done. The worst case scenario is that if they are used to fill hospital rota shortages, they will fail to cover enough of general practice, and they will fail their exams, not forgetting the personal anguish they will suffer.

‘It is a risk not worth taking. Educationalists have said you need 18 months.’

A COGPED spokeswoman declined to comment.

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