Shaping general practice
The RCGP is committed to inspiring tomorrow’s GPs - not only to fulfil an ever-growing workforce need - but to ensure that all pupils, students and foundation doctors understand and value the role and responsibilities of a GP.
The government’s mandate for 50% of medical school graduates to enter GP Specialty Training, coupled with the publication of reports such as ‘By choice - not by chance’ and ‘Destination GP’ add greater weight to the need to enthuse, educate, and inspire future members of our profession.
The College over recent years has become a key player in the promotion of general practice through successful activity under its new banner of ‘Discover GP’. As a result, the College has seen a significant increase in the number of medical student and foundation doctor members - an increase of 300% since 2016.
In 2017, the RCGP and Medical Schools Council (MSC) jointly commissioned a survey of medical students across the UK.
This project aimed to build an 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.
The power of peers and role models
Medical students are strongly influenced by their peers and GPs interacting with medical students on placement can have an extremely positive influence on career choices. The RCGP is keen to better support GPs to offer high-quality placement experiences and to celebrate their vital contribution to the training of future GPs.
The Society Partnership Network is a prime example of the RCGP’s efforts to instill positive peer-to-peer engagement through the fantastic work of student-led GP Societies. Visit here for a medical student perspective on Destination GP.
The impact of clinical contact and need to change discourse
Poor placement experiences and negative discourse can cause medical students to alter their career intentions. The RCGP is making strong efforts to enhance relationships at the interface between primary and secondary care, whilst also ensuring medical students are exposed to professional behaviour throughout the NHS.
The need for an accurate and informed picture of the general practice landscape
A career a GP is an intellectually stimulating, diverse and fulfilling. The RCGP wishes to showcase the best of general practice to ensure that current and prospective medical students are aware of the endless opportunities associated with a career as a GP.
Influences beyond the taught environment
The RCGP continually campaigns to ensure general practice is properly resourced. Why not check out our recent ‘Fit for the future’ report to see what we would like general practice to look like in 2030.
Undergraduate primary care tariff
The RCGP has worked closely with the Society for Academic Primary Care (SAPC) to apply further political pressure in relation to the ongoing underfunding of undergraduate general practice teaching. Besides sending several letters to the Secretary of State and the Department of Health, the RCGP embarked on a postcard campaign to raise awareness of the issue amongst medical students and the training community, and to build their voice to continue to make the case to government.
The RCGP received hundreds of physical and digital postcards which were delivered to the Department of Health on Wednesday 26 June 2019 by medical students, foundation doctors and GP trainees. Alongside these postcards, over 600 emails were sent directly from students, members and supporters to the Secretary of State, expressing their concerns on the issue.
The RCGP has subsequently continued to push the agenda via multiple social media channels, examples of which can be found below:
Represent your peers
Hearing the views of medical students and foundation doctors is key in our pursuit to better understand their needs, interests, and career aspirations. It is therefore an important aim of ours to ensure that medical students and foundation doctors are represented across the UK.
We hope to appoint medical students and foundation doctors onto their local faculty boards where they don’t currently exist - in doing so strengthening our local relationships with younger members.
What does the role of a community group representative involve?
Those carrying out the role will be expected to:
- Attend all relevant faculty board meetings
- Share insight, ideas and experience in relation to their community group
- Attend 1-2 Community Liaison Group meetings each year which exists to provide a platform for all faculty representatives to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences in relation to the RCGP’s work aimed at each community group
- Read mandatory guidance and attend Community Summit
- Adhere to the relevant policies and procedures of RCGP, including Health and Safety, Safeguarding, Equality and Diversity, Information Security and Data Protection.
What skills and qualities do members need?
The RCGP is committed to equal opportunities and welcomes interest from all members.
Individuals are required to:
- Be a Member of the RCGP, their local faculty and respective community group
- Have excellent interpersonal skills and a willingness to support local engagement
- Commit to attending a series of meetings (locally and nationally) throughout the year
- Represent the views of their peers and colleagues in their faculty
- Uphold the values of the RCGP - Care, Leadership, Excellence, and Teamwork.
- To get involved, express your interest via the following link or for further information contact email@example.com
What can medical students and foundation doctors offer their local faculty:
- Advocate for general practice within their medical or foundation school
- Readily communicate the work of the faculty amongst their peers
- Proactively represent the views, interests, and experiences of their peers to ensure the faculty is informed and understanding of their needs and circumstances
- Offer a medical student/foundation doctor perspective on the discussions held allowing their voice to be heard on matters discussed and arising.
What can faculty boards offer medical students and foundation doctors:
- Provide an open forum to discuss issues relevant to their needs and experience i.e. ringfenced time on the agenda to discuss recruitment-related topics/updates from local leads and GP Societies
- Support the running of localised recruitment events and attendance at College events and initiatives
- Offer feedback and recognition for their time and contribution
- To provide continuity of representation throughout the career pathway i.e. medical students, foundation doctors, AiTs, and First5s, etc.
Submit your ideas
Here at the RCGP we wish to fully understand the needs, interests and experiences of medical students and foundation doctors in the UK. If you wish to share your general practice experience or ensure the RCGP is campaigning on issues relevant to your needs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas, suggestions and experiences - we’d love to hear from you.