GP training in practice cut back by six months

Course organisers heard Dr Arthur Hibble, chairman of the committee of GP educators (COGPED) ‘promise' at their annual conference this year that GP training under Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) would enjoy a primary/secondary care split allowing for 18 months in general practice.

Now the VTS organisers have been told that the plans will not go ahead because the DoH is putting no new money into the GP training programmes.  

Dr Roger Burns, a Pembrokeshire GP and chairman of the Association of Course Organisers, said that in July it became clear there would be no new money for the extra six months in general practice.  

‘We have just been told that the DoH view is that it is for management to move the money from secondary care SHO posts to GP registrar posts,’ he said.  

‘We have to build programmes that we know we can pay for.’  

Course organisers preparing for the launch of MMC in August 2007 have been designing programmes with an even split between secondary and primary care.  

These plans are now being abandoned.  

‘We are not prepared to run courses that we believe are inadequate. We are not convinced that 12 months in general practice will be enough time to acquire the competencies for the new MRCGP,’ said Dr Roger Tisi, a course organiser in the Eastern deanery, the first to be threatened with the abandonment of the 18-month promise.  

‘The training issues are being fudged,’ Dr Burns said.  

Some 18-month programmes that are already running would continue piecemeal around the country, Dr Tisi said, exposing F2 trainees looking for a VTS to a postcode lottery.  

The threat is less in Wales and in Northern Ireland where deaneries are ‘trying to make accommodations’, Dr Burns said.  

In Northern Ireland there is a plan to have a two years in general practice and a single year in the acute sector.  

Dr Hibble said that 18-month programmes would go ahead eventually, with a year’s delay. But he admitted that he ‘understood the scepticism with which this is being viewed’. 

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