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GP career choice is associated with undergraduate GP exposure

Published on 28th February 2017

Universities urgently need to address the current GP recruitment crisis by giving students more exposure to primary care, new research has revealed.

For the first time, the Newcastle University-led study has found a link between the amount of GP teaching a medical school offers and the number of students who go into GP training after their foundation years as a doctor.

Data for the study published today in the British Journal of General Practice was collated from all medical schools in the UK and shows the need for students to be taught in GP surgeries.

It is suggested that more time should be spent teaching students in a GP practice with patient contact, in contrast to non-clinical sessions like group tutorials at a medical school.  

Recruitment crisis

There is currently a recruitment and retention crisis of GPs in the UK, and the Department of Health has set a target of 50% of postgraduate medical training places to be allocated to General Practice.

However, the proportion of UK medical graduates who intend to become a family doctor is well below this target and the numbers are worryingly decreasing year on year.

Only 16.4% of foundation year 2 doctors were appointed to GP training in 2016, compared to 17.4% in 2015 and 20.6% in 2014.

Data from the UK Foundation Programme Office shows that new medical schools that included a larger proportion of primary care experience as part of their training saw up to 30% of students becoming a GP.

Whereas universities where students had much less opportunities to train in GP surgeries saw as little as 7% of students going into this profession.

For the full article please visit the Newcastle University website.

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