Training overhaul could promote careers in general practice

A training programme set up to offer junior doctors exposure to a wider range of specialties before making career choices should boost GP numbers in future, GP leaders believe.

Dr Molyneux: programme will allow junior doctors to delay decisions about their careers (Photograph: BMA)

Medical royal colleges including the RCGP are developing a 'Broad Base Training Programme' to give junior doctors extra experience in general practice, psychiatry, paediatrics and general medicine.

The two-year scheme will be completed after foundation training as an alternative to existing training routes.

The plans will be sent to the GMC for approval and if accepted, will be piloted by the North West Deanery before being implemented.

GP trainee and BMA junior doctors committee deputy chairman Dr Ben Molyneux said he would be 'surprised' if the scheme was not approved. The programme would allow junior doctors to delay decisions about their careers, he said.

'At the moment you come out of medical school and your application for specialty training is made less than 18 months later. This scheme gives you a bit more time and freedom.

'It would also mean everyone who went on the programme would get experience across all four areas, which will be positive for everyone involved.'

The GPC and RCGP have backed the scheme. RCGP chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada said: 'Having a pick and mix of these areas before having to decide what specialty to go on to could help more people decide on general practice as a future career.'

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey added: 'When medical students are exposed to general practice they see it fits with their aspirations and see it as a worthwhile career.'

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