HOSPITAL doctors and overseas GPs wanting to work in general practice in England will be given extra support under new plans from Health Education England.
Doctors from other specialties who are interested in transferring to general practice would be offered training targeted to their specific requirements, taking into account their previous experience and training. They could then have their training shortened after a 12-month performance review.
Non-EU overseas GPs will also be offered an easier path. Those who have been identified by the General Medical Council as requiring additional training in order to meet UK competences will no longer be required to enrol as a GP trainee in order to access training.
The proposals – designed to boost GP numbers – are among a raft of measures set out by HEE in their consultation outcome report Targeted GP training proposal including changes to extensions to training.
Other proposals include enabling the re-entry to training for those who failed to successfully complete one part (out of three) of the MRCGP qualification within the time permitted. It is also proposed to allow extensions to GP training for some trainees.
Professor Simon Gregory, Director and Dean of Education and Quality, Midlands and East said the proposals “offer a number of routes to support doctors to enter and successfully complete GP training whilst maintaining the gold standard of MRCGP as exit criteria. In particular, this would help doctors who are progressing in training but not able to do so sufficiently in the time allowed.”
The plans received a cautious welcome from the RCGP with Chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard commenting that the College’s priority was patient safety.
She said: “General practice is under intense resource and workforce pressures, and we desperately need more family doctors practising in the UK, but not through the back door, and not at the expense of the trust and confidence patients have in their GP.”
The College estimates that around 250 doctors could be eligible for targeted GP training under HEE’s proposals.
Professor Stokes-Lampard added: “Compared to the thousands more GPs we need in the workforce, this is a modest number and it is important that we do not generate false hope for these ‘targeted’ candidates, as these proposed new measures would not guarantee their success."
Read the full consultation outcome report here