GPC members call for radical overhaul of 'outdated' GP training

The BMA's GP trainees subcommittee will call for a 'radical overhaul' of GP training and argue that GP trainees should be predominantly based in primary care at next month's UK LMCs conference.

(Photo: JH Lancy)
(Photo: JH Lancy)

Currently, trainees who want to become GPs have to complete a two-year foundation programme across a variety of medical environments before starting a three-year speciality programme for general practice. This normally consists of 18 months in an approved training practice with a further 18 months in approved hospital posts.

But a motion listed for debate at next month’s UK LMCs conference, put forward by the GPC on behalf of the GP trainees subcommittee, has branded this system ‘outdated’ and argues that GP trainees should spend the majority of their time in general practice with ‘set time to attend secondary care for learning opportunities.’

The motion also says that all FY2 doctors should complete a ‘community placement’ and trainees should learn skills in ‘leadership, business and management’ as part of their GP training. The subcommittee will also call for the e-portfolio requirements to be overhauled to ensure it is equitable across the UK.

Another conference motion relating to the future of the partnership model, which will be proposed by Hertfordshire LMCs, will call on the GPC to work with the RCGP to ensure that training in aspects of being a partner 'becomes a fundamental part of the GP training curriculum'.

GP training

The debate comes after former BMA chair and London GP Sir Sam Everington told GPonline that plans for a ‘massively attractive’ GP trainee scheme based almost entirely in general practice could begin in 2020.

The new scheme will offer trainees a five-year general practice posting ‘straight out of medical school’. Similarly to the proposals made by the GPC, Sir Sam said the programme will equip family doctors of the future with core primary care skills in practice leadership and emphasise the importance of team working.

Speaking to GPonline in January, Sir Sam - who is working with the GMC and Health Education England to develop the scheme - said: ‘We should have confidence as GPs to train our own GPs instead of - dare I say it - handing it over to the hospitals.’

Responding to Sir Sam’s comments, BMA GP trainee subcommittee chair Dr Zoe Greaves said that any scheme that ‘gives trainees more hands-on experience in primary care’ was ‘welcome’, but warned that the programme ran the risk of becoming limiting.

‘GP trainees also learn a great deal from well delivered secondary care experience, so the balance must be finely struck,’ she said.

The motion in full

That conference recognises GP training is outdated and needs radical overhaul. We call upon GPC to work with relevant stakeholders to:

(i) push for GP trainees to be predominantly based in general practice with set time to attend secondary care for learning opportunities

(ii) overhaul the e-portfolio requirements to ensure it is equitable across the UK

(iii) learn skills vital to modern GPs such as leadership, business, and management through funded courses

(iv) ensure all FY2s have a community placement.

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