Speaking at the RCGP annual conference 2015, Dr Terry Kemple set out proposals on how to tackle the GP recruitment crisis.
He said the flow of undergraduates into GP careers could be accelerated if science and pharmacy graduates were offered a fast-track route into general practice. 'Do they really need all that hospital experience?' he asked.
Dr Kemple added that the UK loses many young doctors at the foundation stage of training, particularly those who move overseas. 'Let's interview them earlier - and say, "Go away for a year or two," but give them a date when they can return to start GP training.'
His third proposal was for medical schools to survey graduates at the end of each academic year, so that the NHS could 'name and shame' organisations that were failing to inspire enough young doctors into GP careers.
RCGP AiT committee chair Dr Laura Armitage said GPs should stop talking down their jobs. 'We have to stop saying how hard our jobs are. Even if it's hard we have to say we love it.'
University College London lecturer in general practice Dr Joe Rosenthall said medical students should be obliged to spend 30% of their time in general practice and that trainees should be obliged to be involved in undergraduate training, because they were at a stage of their career when they should be highly enthusiastic about their chosen specialty.