Scottish government unveils extra GP training posts

The Scottish government has set out plans for an extra 85 training posts that will focus on encouraging medical students and experienced health professionals into general practice.

The extra places will be rolled out at three Scottish universities over the next two financial years as part of the Scottish government's drive to increase GP numbers by 800 by 2027.

The RCGP has backed the move, but warns that by 2021 Scotland faces a shortfall of more than 800 GPs. Earlier this year, official NHS data revealed that one in every 18 shifts in general practice in Scotland are unfilled, with GPs increasingly forced to work longer hours to cover the gaps.

Under plans to train more doctors, the Scottish government will increase total places at medical schools to 1,038 by 2020/21, up 22% from 2015/16.

The 85 posts being rolled out will be split between Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow universities, with 60 to begin in 2019/20 and 25 more in 2020/21. The initial 60 posts will give medical students extra exposure and work experience in general practice, while the later posts will offer non-medical health professionals the change to switch to train as doctors.

GP workforce

Scottish health secretary Shona Robison said: 'The innovative proposals from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow universities will see 85 new places to specifically promote general practice as a long-term career for young doctors, and allow experienced healthcare professionals who may be interested in becoming doctors to enter medicine.

'While our new GP contract will make general practice a more attractive career by cutting workloads and giving doctors more time with patients, these new medical places are a further step we are taking to train and retain more family doctors in Scotland."

RCGP Scotland deputy chair (policy)Dr Alasdair Forbes said: ‘RCGP Scotland welcomes these additional medical student places towards general practice. Previous research has shown that Scottish domiciled students are more likely to stay here once they graduate and so we hope these initiatives provide impetus to Scottish based applicants. GP tutors are excellent role models and we are confident that increased exposure to and experience of general practice will help these students appreciate what a rewarding and interesting career general practice is.’

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