UK F2s less likely than international students to opt for general practice

Embarking on a career in general practice is a less attractive option for F2 trainees in the UK than those from other European or international medical schools, official GMC figures suggest.

International graduates are 68% more likely to opt for GP training. Pic: Istock
International graduates are 68% more likely to opt for GP training. Pic: Istock

Figures for the last three years show that F2 graduates from international medical schools are on average 68% more likely to opt for GP training than their UK counterparts.

Just a third (34%) of F2 UK graduates applied for GP training across 2012, 2013 and 2014, while over half (57%) of international F2 students did over the same period.

Graduates from the rest of the European Economic Area (EEA) were also more likely to seek out a career in general practice, with 41% applying for GP training posts.

Leading GPs have previously warned that UK graduates are ‘shunning general practice’, as workforce statistics revealed many areas reliant on GPs trained overseas, with more than 50% of GPs in some CCG areas having being trained outside of the UK.

Map: NHS relies on GPs from overseas

The figures closely follow reports that black and minority ethnic (BME) candidates and doctors trained in international schools are considerably less likely to be accepted onto training courses in the UK.

GP revealed in February that there has been a steady fall in the number of applications made for GP trainee posts over the last few years. In 2014, just 23% of foundation-level trainees said they intended on going into GP speciality training.

HEE has a government mandate to ensure that at least 50% of trainees in the UK opt for GP training by 2016, a target HEE insists it is ‘well on course to achieve’. The target has already been postponed from 2015 after it became clear it could not be met by this year.

Figures obtained by GP also show that applicants for GP training places are slightly less likely to receive an offer than those applying for other specialities.

GP applicants less likely to receive an offer

On average over 2012, 2013 and 2014 cohorts, 62% of applications to GP training posts resulted in an offer being made, while 67% of applications to non-GP specialties resulted in an offer being made.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘This shows how we need to focus on talking up general practice right from the very day a student enters medical school and for them to be encouraged to see that general practice is an equally valid – if not better – career option than working in hospital or going abroad.

'There needs to be more exposure to general practice at every stage of training. We need to see much more emphasis on community-based learning, whether you're going to be a specialist in a hospital or working in general practice. Doing more of your training within the community will enhance everybody’s career.’

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