Reflecting at the end of an important week for GP recruitment and retention in Scotland

7 August 2020

This week, I wanted to take the opportunity to let you know about the latest developments in GP recruitment and retention  - a crucially important area to get right if we are to safeguard the future of the GP workforce, and an issue which we rightly give a great deal of focus to here at the College.

GP training posts

You may have seen earlier in the week that NHS Education for Scotland published the latest fill rates for medical specialty training posts.

This year’s figures have shown that there will be 281 doctors embarking on GP training in 2020; an increase of 23 GP trainees from 2019 - which is most definitely a step in the right direction and progress to be welcomed.

The Scottish Government has set a target to increase the GP workforce by 800 headcount GPs by 2027 and in order to achieve - and ideally surpass - this target, we need to see year on year increases of doctors opting for a career in general practice. 

Undergraduate medical education

Research, including our own RCGP report, Destination GP (2.04 MB PDF), has shown that medical students are far more likely to choose a career in general practice, if they have more exposure to primary care and general practice during their undergraduate studies.

Currently, less than 10% of the undergraduate curriculum is delivered in general practice in Scotland.

I am therefore pleased that following the recommendations made in Professor John Gillies' report into undergraduate medical education, there is now a commitment by Scottish Government for at least 25% of undergraduate medical education to be delivered in primary care, which will be supported by a significant increase in the funding available to practices to support this.

This is sure to make a significant difference to medical students' perspectives of general practice and I look forward to seeing progress towards this in the years ahead. 

Widening participation to medical schools

Continuing the theme of undergraduate medical education, I have been alerted to an upcoming virtual conference for aspiring medical school applicants with a focus on widening participation.

The conference is taking place tomorrow (8 August 2020) and boasts a jam-packed schedule of talks and workshops covering everything from what to expect from a career in medicine to practical tips on applications.

The event is free to attend, so please do spread the word to anybody you know who may be interested. More details and link to registration can be found on the AspireMEd website

Welcome and congratulations to AiTs

Finally, this is an important week for our AiT colleagues at the beginning and the end of GP training.

For those of you starting out in GP training, you have made a great choice for a hugely rewarding career.

It could be argued that the role of general practice has never been more important for the future of the NHS.

For those of you completing training, I want to say congratulations, but also a heartfelt thank you for your patience, flexibility and hard work during these very exceptional times.

So, to all our AiT colleagues - welcome to the team. Your College is here to support you every step of the way. Please do follow our #CelebrAiT thread on Twitter where we will share webinars, podcasts, videos, blogs and more.


Post written by

Dr Carey Lunan, Chair RCGP Scotland

Dr Carey Lunan is a GP partner in one of Edinburgh's Deep End practices and is the current Chair of RCGP Scotland.

Prior to this, she held the role of Executive Officer for Patients and Public and Interface working. She also sits on the RCGP Ethics Committee.

Her priorities during her time as Chair include a focus on practitioner wellbeing, improving the interface between primary and secondary care, and growing and retaining the GP workforce.

She has made tackling health inequalities a high priority and has consistently called for the need to engage the public in a national conversation about the realistic role of the modern NHS and the importance of collective social responsibility.

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