GPs demand formal recognition as medical specialists

The BMA and the RCGP have joined forces to call on all four UK governments to recognise GPs as medical specialists, giving the profession equal status to other medical specialties.

A joint statement from the two organisations warns that the failure to expand the specialist medical register to include GPs is 'holding back medical students and junior doctors' from pursuing careers in general practice.

GP leaders point out that the GMC has expressed support for GPs to be added to the specialist register, along with the Medical Schools Council (MSC) and Health Education England.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: 'It is important given the range, depth and scope of work undertaken by GPs, that they receive the recognition they deserve. With the RCGP, we are calling on all four UK health departments, working with the GMC, to bring forward legislative proposals to the UK parliament to update the Medical Act so that GPs can be formally recognised as medical specialists on the same footing as other senior doctors.'

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Why GPs should be recognised as medical specialists

The BMA and RCGP statement says: 'General practice is facing an ongoing workforce crisis, yet it’s clear that the lack of formal recognition of general practice as a specialty is holding back medical students and junior doctors from pursuing a career as GPs.

'A recent publication by RCGP and MSC – Destination GP – provided further evidence that during their training, medical students are experiencing denigration about general practice as a career from a wide range of sources. Formal recognition of general practice as a specialty would help to counter misconceptions being spread about the specialist nature of the GP role.

'GPs are expert medical generalists who must be valued as such. We therefore call upon the four UK health departments, working with the GMC, to bring forward legislative proposals to the UK parliament to update the Medical Act to recognise general practitioners as specialists and grant them parity of esteem with senior doctors in other branches of medical practice.

'As we work to bring about change at a UK level we will also continue to fully support our European colleagues in UEMO (the European Union of General Practitioners/Family Physicians) in their ongoing pursuit to secure recognition through amendments to European legislation.'

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