Medical students must experience general practice early in training

Medical students must experience work in general practice early in their undergraduate training if future GP posts are to be filled, a dean at King's College has recommended.

In a BJGP editorial, Professor John Rees, dean of undergraduate education at King’s College London School of Medicine, outlined that the career aspirations of students are affected by their experience and by the role models they meet.

In ‘The future of medical education in the UK’ Professor Rees called for students to experience general practice early on in their training. He said education facilities in the community will be a key part of this.

He said: ‘Although medical education tends to follow changes in clinical practice and NHS organisation, we must predict these more precisely to avoid too many students chasing too few jobs in smaller specialities such as surgery.

‘If more graduates are needed to work in general practice and in community facilities, then students need to experience these environments early and throughout their undergraduate training.’

Professor Rees said where new organisations such as GP consortia are developed, educators must be involved in planning educational resources, in terms of space, room design and staff time.

‘If education gets proper representation in the planning then the development of larger units for the delivery of community health could have great possibilities for teaching,’ he said.

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