This section is a resource for accessing key research evidence regarding the GP selection process which has successfully completed several years of national recruitment since 2006. Whilst not exhaustive, the research evidence presented below outlines the development of the GP selection system and indicates how it follows best practice.
The History of the National GP Selection System
Prior to the development of the national GP selection system, research showed that various selection methods were applied across different deaneries which lacked standardisation. Directors of Postgraduate GP Education were therefore given responsibility for developing a selection and training system that ensured the process of recruitment demonstrates fair and open competition, and observes best practice in providing equal opportunities for all applicants1.
Subsequently, a collective commitment was made to work towards standardisation of recruitment methods across deaneries which resulted in the national process.
The National GP Selection System
In keeping with best practice selection from other occupations, a multi method job analysis was conducted by Professor Fiona Patterson (Work Psychology Group) and colleagues in 2000. A thorough job analysis determines the relevant knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes associated with competent performance in a job role and informs the design of selection methods which are accurate (reliable), relevant (valid), objective and standardised.
Currently, the GP selection process uses national machine markable (MMT) short-listing tests, together with selection centre methodology, which has been developed incrementally over seven years. The development and successful implementation of the MMTs, with clinical problem-solving and situational judgement components, has been a significant innovation in postgraduate specialty selection.
1 NHS Executive (2000) Enhanced Management Arrangements for General Practice Vocational Training, 1999/230 Ed.