Future GPs call for fair tariffs for primary care teaching

Publication date: 27 June 2019

Future GPs are calling for fair funding for undergraduate students to train in primary care and help secure the future of their profession.

National guidance on funding of GP teaching has not been issued since 1995, leaving practices receiving around 40 percent less funding to train undergraduate students than their secondary care equivalents – equalling a total underfunding of around £44 million per year. 

GP practices currently receive on average £620 a week to host training placements, yet the true cost is estimated to be £1,100 - a 40% deficit, and around 40% less than the average amount received by hospitals to host training placements, despite costs being the same.

Medical students and trainee doctors from the Royal College of General Practitioners took hundreds of signed postcards to the Department of Health and Social Care on Wednesday, urging the Government to invest in primary care teaching and bring funding tariffs line with other areas of medical training. 

A selection of the signatures, collected by students and trainee doctors in medical schools and GP practices across the country, were presented to the department yesterday in an effort to bring the issue to the forefront of debate.  

Emma Tonner and Dr Devina Maru, RCGP national co-chairs of the Medical Student and Foundation Doctor Committee, said: "This issue is really important to medical students, but we need the Secretary of State to know that this is also important to patients, as well as qualified GPs and their teams. 

"Evidence shows that GP tutors have a profound influence on student perceptions of general practice. The higher the quality of the placement, the more likely we are to choose to train to work as a GP. 

"Making sure our tutors have the funding they need to teach us and still provide amazing patient care is so important. We hope that the government will listen and understand that this is about securing the future of the profession and showing young people that general practice is the route they should be taking."

Chair of the RCGP, Helen Stokes-Lampard, has written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social care a number of times over the past two years calling for sufficient funding to be provided for education and training across primary care.  

Professor Stokes-Lampard said: "General practice is the bedrock of the NHS and we need at least half of medical students to choose the profession to ensure it will be fit for the future, yet undergraduate GP teaching continue to be severely under resourced compared to placements in secondary care.  

"GPs do a fantastic job caring for their patients and training the future workforce in the face of strained resources and rising workload. However, having to 'make do' with inadequate funding to host students is not sustainable. 

"The NHS Long-Term Plan sets out an ambitious vision for the future, with more care being delivered in the community where patients need it most - to make this a reality, it is vital that adequate resources are provided to fund high-quality teaching in general practice."

The RCGP and Medical Schools Council's 2018 report, Destination GP [PDF] highlights the critical role of GP tutors and high-quality clinical placements in developing the future GP workforce.
 

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

Chair of the RCGP, Helen Stokes-Lampard, has written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social care a number of times over the past two years to highlight this issue. The RCGP is calling for at least £31m a year to cover primary care training, 

Last year, the College undertook the most comprehensive survey of medical students' perceptions of general practice to date. The report, Destination GP [PDF] found that exposure to GP placements during medical school was a key influencer on whether students were likely to choose general practice as their speciality. It also found that medical students' choice of specialty is most influenced by their interaction with individual GPs during their placement.
 

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