PLANS to extend GP training to four years have moved a step closer after being given the go-ahead by Medical Education England.
RCGP chair Clare Gerada told Pulse she was “over the moon” at the decision, which follows lengthy lobbying by the College.
The move means the College can now begin laying the groundwork for extending training, which will involve ensuring the project is financially viable in order to secure the Treasury’s approval. Further discussions will be held with key groups such as the BMA and the Department of Health on how to implement the plans.
At three years, the UK has the shortest general practice training programme of 14 European countries and the shortest of all UK medical specialties. Currently, it is recommended trainees complete 18 months of general practice training but the minimum required is only 12 months.
The RCGP has long campaigned for extended training that will keep pace with the expanding role of GPs and the challenges posed by an ageing population.
The College is proposing an integrated four-year enhanced GP training programme covering the breadth of general practice with a greater focus on the key clinical, generalist and leadership skills they believe GPs will require for the future.
Dr Gerada told Pulse: “I am absolutely over the moon. Clearly there is a long way to go yet but I am absolutely delighted that we have got approval from the highest education body in England. The work really starts now. It's like building a house – now we have planning permission.”