Destination GP

It is crucial that the next generation of doctors aspires to specialise as GPs, to continue to lead the way for primary care. We're asking our members and supporters to write to their MP to ensure this can happen.

Students at a lectureAs patient needs for general practice continue to grow, the General Practitioner workforce has not expanded sufficiently to meet demand. With the high number of GPs set to retire in the next five years, and continued slow recruitment across the healthcare workforce, urgent action is needed to get more doctors to the front line of general practice.

Previous research has shown that students are hearing negative things about general practice. Many other medical specialties also experience 'denigration' and 'factionalism' is widespread, but general practice is the worst affected. The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and Medical Schools Council (MSC) jointly commissioned a survey of medical students across the UK.

This project aimed to build the evidence base on medical students' perceptions of general practice, and how and where they are exposed to misconceptions and negative views. Based on these findings, this report sets out a series of recommendations where further work is needed to tackle the spread of misconceptions and negativity surrounding general practice.

We are calling for more money for general practice student placements. If you have time please write to your MP about this.

Our key findings  

  1. The power of peers and role models
    Students are strongly influenced by their peers, whom they perceive to hold negative views about general practice. GPs interacting with students on placement can have an extremely positive influence on student career choices.
  2. The impact of clinical contact and need to change discourse
    Clinical placements in other specialities are particularly likely to expose students to negative views of general practice, which can then create a negative impression of general practice.
  3. The need for an accurate and informative picture of the current and future general practice landscape
    General practice is an intellectually stimulating, diverse and fulfilling career choice for prospective doctors. So it is concerning that there appears to be a fairly widespread misconception that this is not the case. Information needs to be consolidated into engaging, age appropriate, accessible resources to show how challenging and varied a career as a GP can be.
  4. Influences beyond the taught environment
    More could be done to make general practice a more attractive place to work in the face of the pressures caused by rising patient needs, coupled with long-term underinvestment.

More information

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