We recognise that making a decision about which specialty to pursue may not be easy at any stage of your career. Sometimes conflicting advice or negative perceptions and comments you hear about general practice may be off putting. Your feedback is important so we would like to address a number of concerns expressed by some trainees.
There is a lot of good information on this website. If you have any questions you’d like answered or would like to speak to a practising GP to find out what it’s really like to work in practice, please contact us at HEE.GPrecruitment@nhs.net.
I know you need to recruit more doctors into GP training, have you lowered the standards to get more people to apply?
No – the standard recruitment and selection procedures have been applied. Starting from the 2016/17 recruitment round, nine new initiatives were introduced to give greater flexibility and streamline the process. You can find this information on the Summary of Changes page.
How will ‘£20k golden hello’ help solve the recruitment problem?
From 2017 England, Scotland and Wales are each offering separate schemes. For more information refer to the Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme page.
Health Education England, and partners from NHS England, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the BMA GPs Committee have agreed to work on several options as there is no one single solution that will solve the problem. The £20K bursary is attracting trainees to certain areas of the country where training is excellent but the application rate has been historically low. Trainees often stay post training. For more information refer to the Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme page.
We’ve heard doctors are more likely to go abroad to work?
This is nothing new. We know that a large number of doctors have always spent time abroad both after and between Foundation and Specialty training. Most of them historically have come back and we hope they continue to do so. This is why many trainees are able to defer for 12 months and will be able to bank their accepted GP training programme. Please check the Deferment page for specific arrangements across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Are people choosing GP because there are less training places in other specialties?
No. Recruitment numbers across specialties vary year on year due to many factors but they largely remain the same.
Why are the GMC making it harder for international medical graduates to work in the UK?
The GMC continually review and revise their standards to protect patients and doctors and to promote and maintain the health and safety of the public. The recent changes are based on an independent review commissioned by the GMC between 2011 and 2014. Doctors with the skills we need will still be able to work in the UK.
I don’t want to be stuck on my own in one room and clinically isolated
From day 1 as a trainee in practice you are treated as part of the team. There is always another GP to discuss things with. In training and once qualified you have a team to help and someone to discuss difficult cases with. Most practices hold multi-disciplinary team meetings or get together informally to off load on a daily basis.
Developing a portfolio career means working with different teams, in different settings. The role of the GP is developing and it may be that you find yourself running a cardiology clinic, a care of the elderly ward round in a community hospital or an A&E resus for example, on some days of the week.
I don’t just want to see patients with coughs and colds all day
You won’t. Patients present with a range of symptoms, some are due to simple illness often managed by other team members and many are medically complex and require a high level of skill to not only manage pathology but to see the patient in the context of their lives, their family, home environment and personal beliefs. Palliative care cases are a great example of the need for good clinical acumen and the ability to provide holistic care.
Surely being a general practitioner means you’re actually not a master of anything?
GPs are ‘masters’ at knowing their patients and are uniquely placed to make well informed decisions. GPs are skilled at making decisions with patients rather than for them. They are also masters of managing risk, able to take responsibility for clinical uncertainty and the larger health economy. Don’t forget that many GPs are able to practice special interests for example MSK, cardiology and dermatology.
General Practice is known as a ‘fact free’ zone and you’re not considered to be a proper doctor
GPs practice evidenced based medicine. Knowing where to find and how to implement the most relevant and up to date guidance is a key skill needed to manage the huge range of conditions seen in general practice - without using a lot of medical jargon with patient’s.
GPs are known to many patients as ‘my doctor’. This is a real privilege and something you can enjoy right from the beginning of your career.
It’s widely reported that the hours are long and GPs are ‘burning out’
In general practice, particularly in training, it’s recognised that maintaining a healthy work / life balance is part of being an effective clinician. Many more qualified GPs are choosing not to work a full week in the surgery, spending time in other clinical, education or leadership roles or pursuing other interests.
Don’t forget to contact us at HEE.GPrecruitment@nhs.net if you have any other questions you’d like answered.