GP trainers concerned about trainee competence

A significant proportion of GP trainers have concerns about the competence of their trainees, a survey reveals.

Dr Alison Glenesk: trainees are  much younger and need more support
Dr Alison Glenesk: trainees are much younger and need more support

A survey of all UK trainers by the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB), appears to show that nearly a third of GP trainers have concerns.

They were asked how many of their current trainees were not showing the expected competences for their level of training and if trainees were less confident and less able to work independently than those in the past. Findings from the two questions were presented as a composite measure.

Dr Malcolm Lewis, director of postgraduate education for general practice in Wales, said the finding was strong evidence for increasing GP training from three to five years.

The Committee of General Practice Education Directors (COGPED), the RCGP and the GPC were all working together to present a case to extend GP training, he added.

Dr Alison Glenesk, a GP trainer in Aberdeen, said trainees were now much younger so the lack of confidence was predictable.

‘We're seeing trainees in their first year whereas before it was always in their third. So when they are making decisions it's not really surprising they need more support.'

Dr Lewis said the figures were probably the result of a large number of changes to GP training being implemented over the last few years.

Dr Glenesk said she was surprised at the findings but said many trainers found it difficult to juggle the time commitments of a full-time job and being a GP trainer.

Although her own area had provided plenty of training and ongoing support with the new systems of assessment, she felt there were likely to be many trainers who were not so fortunate.

  • Read this week's GP dated 18 September for the full version of this story.
  • Are you worried about trainee GPs' competence?

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