The GPC which worked with the college on the proposal said it was a ‘pragmatic’ decision to ask for four years because of the ‘financial situation’ but five years was the ‘ultimate aim’.
The college is now calling for the introduction of four years' enhanced GP training, where ‘all posts are tailored to the educational needs of GP trainees’. The college asks that the training programme covers the breadth of general practice with ‘extra focus on the key clinical, generalist and leadership skills that the GPs of the future will require’.
Under the recommendations, the Certificate of Completion of Training and MRCGP qualification will be awarded at the end of year four, on successful completion of the training, after which the doctor will be licensed for independent practice as a GP.
Dr Clare Gerada, the college’s chairwoman, said: ‘Four years of dedicated general practice training will mean that the next generation of GPs enter the profession armed with the skills necessary to meet the needs of changing population, and to face the practical challenges that our future NHS will present.
‘The RCGP bid is not a criticism of the existing training, nor of the skills of current trainees and First5 GPs. However, general practice is changing, and we believe that we would do our trainees and our patients, now and in the future, a great service if we achieve this change now.
‘As part of our enhanced GP training proposal, the minimum time spent in general practice placements would be increased by 12 months (full-time equivalent) on the current statutory minimum, to a total of 24 months. Taking into account the 12 months that must be spent in placements in specialties approved by GMC as relevant to general practice (as directed by The Medical Act), this will leave a further 12 months that can be used flexibly by deaneries to create innovative GP training placements such as integrated posts in a range of hospital, community and general practice settings.’
Dr Richard Vautrey, the GPC’s deputy chairman said: ‘It is long overdue. We do want to see GP training extended. Our main concern is that the medical need of the trainees should be paramount. We have been talking with the college to develop proposals to emphasise the need of trainees is paramount.
‘It was a pragmatic decision. Because of the financial situation with the NHS and the government there was a feeling that four years would be a stepping stone to five years which is the ultimate aim.’