Speakers' Corner - Undergraduate teaching in General Practice. Your medical school needs you!


This month Joe Rosenthal, Senior Lecturer in General Practice & Sub-Dean for Community Based Teaching at UCL Medical School, gives us his view of undergraduate teaching in general practice.

Joe RosenthalUndergraduate education in general practice is under pressure and needs your help!

Between the 1980s and the early 2000s there was a major expansion in GP based undergraduate teaching. This welcome and necessary expansion has however slowed down, and recent evidence suggests that overall medical
student exposure to general practice has dropped in the last 10 years. The reason for this reduction is not resistance from medical schools who are generally keen to promote GP teaching. The problem is recruiting sufficient numbers of GPs willing and able to provide placements. Capacity for placing medical students in terms of space, time and energy is understandably being squeezed by the many competing demands on general practice, not only from clinical service but also the introduction of foundation placements in general practice and large increases in postgraduate teaching.

We must recognise however, that if we as a professional group do not engage
in the training of tomorrow’s doctors the future of our discipline may well be at risk.

Apart from our huge potential as GPs to teach medicine in its broadest sense to future doctors of all kinds we can also inform them in terms of their eventual career choices within medicine. UK general practice is facing a recruitment
crisis and the Department of Health has tasked Health Education England to ensure that 50% of UK graduates enter general practice training. Given that historically the proportion that enters general practice has fallen far short of this target, and the fact that morale in the profession is currently at a seriously low ebb, this is a tall order.

The recent GP Taskforce report providing guidance on increasing GP numbers has made several useful recommendations amongst which the promotion of general practice as a career is arguably the most important. We need more doctors who want to be GPs.  We know that undergraduate experiences shape career choices and that high quality undergraduate experiences in general practice encourage recruitment. This means we need more GPs to engage with their local medical schools to provide undergraduate placements and promote general practice as a positive career choice for students.

Can you help?

Benefits of undergraduate teaching

All medical schools provide payment for medical student teaching. The schools receive funding which is set nationally by the Department of Health (DH) and allocated locally via Health Education England (HEE). Whilst it is sadly true that payments for GP teaching have not increased for several years, the income from regular teaching can still be reasonably rewarding. These payments are currently under review nationally and we hope that they will increase in due course. There are however several other benefits to practices who get involved.  Studies have shown that GPs involved in teaching find that having students in the practice gives them a sense of variety, achievement and enhanced self-esteem. GPs and other members of the practice involved in teaching feel more confident in their professional roles and the team ethic within the practice is strengthened. Patients have also been reported to feel more included in their care and to have enjoyed hearing their condition being discussed with the students. We also know that students value practice based learning, seeing common illnesses, chronic conditions and a variety of consulting styles.

There is no doubt that this morale boost is in part due to the contact with bright, enthusiastic students but teaching also reinforces knowledge and clinical skills that can lead to measurable benefit in patient care and help protect against burnout.

What to do now?

If you feel you could offer even occasional placements for medical students in your practice now is the time to raise your hand.

You can start by making contact with your local university medical school (see below). They will be able to explain the opportunities available and offer you the training needed for you to get involved. Here are the contacts for the GP teaching leads at all five London medical schools:

 

 

We should all be delighted to hear from you!

 

Last updated : 21 Sep 2015

 

Covid-19 guidance update – November 2021 (25 Nov 2021)

This page collates new guidance and existing guidance that has been updated since our last newsletter on 20 October. Covid-19 response guidance Revised UK infection prevention and control...
Read more »

Engagement to counter abuse of practice staff (25 Nov 2021)

Our work to raise awareness of the abuse practices are receiving, counter misinformation and seek practical support are continuing. The information provided in response to our recent survey on abuse...
Read more »

Health and Social Care Select Committee enquiry into ‘The Future of General Practice’ (25 Nov 2021)

We will be responding to this new inquiry as on behalf of London general practice and would welcome your views. We will highlight London GP teams’ commitment to patient access,...
Read more »

New GPC England Chair (25 Nov 2021)

Last week Dr Farah Jameel was elected Chair of the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee England. Farah is a GP in Camden and Joint-Chair of the LMC for the area, she...
Read more »

Latest LMC workforce survey - please complete our short survey by Monday 13 December 2021 (25 Nov 2021)

Thank you in advance for making space in your busy day to complete our short survey on practice workforce issues. This will help us gather insight to share with key...
Read more »

Supporting patients from migrant communities (25 Nov 2021)

Dr Hannah Theodorou, Londonwide LMCs Medical Director for North West London and Board Member of Doctors of the World writes about GPs’ obligations and best practice when registering and caring...
Read more »

Consultation responses (25 Nov 2021)

In the last month Londonwide LMCs has responded to two Government consultations on behalf of our constituent practices. Data access consultation In November we responded to the “Data A New...
Read more »

Tips of the Month November 2021 (25 Nov 2021)

We provide weekly tips based on common queries which come through to us from London GPs and practice teams. These are shared via social media and collated for...
Read more »

New Integrated Care Board CEOs (23 Nov 2021)

The five chief executive roles for London’s Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) have been appointed. They are: North West London: Rob Hurd, current North Central London ICS Joint Executive lead. North...
Read more »
Next Page »