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Medical school triples students' exposure to general practice

Medical school triples students' exposure to general practice

General practice exposure for medical students in Bristol will triple over the next five years in a bid to encourage them to choose GP careers. From October the number of GP teaching sessions across the medical school will increase from 17,000 hours per year, rising to 50,000 hours by 2021. Bristol University's medical school has launched a campaign for more GP practices to take on students to deliver the increase in hours in general practice.

The medical school said that despite soaring pressure on the profession, GPs should open their doors to students to improve GP recruitment. Students offered longer spells in general practice are more likely to opt for GP careers, and most trainees and newly-qualified GPs say they would be more likely to apply for a job that entails teaching.

The campaign comes after a similar program at the University of Cambridge last year helped to triple numbers of Foundation Year 2 doctors electing to directly progress to GP training - from 7 to 22%. The launch of the program is against a backdrop of a local and national crisis of GP numbers. There are currently 600 GPs supervising medical students through the university. CAPC plans to mitigate some of the increased teaching demand by providing 'cluster-based teaching', with GPs teaching as many as 12 students in a group.

Dr Thompson said that despite the extra workload, having students at a practice 'is good for the morale of the clinical team'. He added: 'It also provides practices recognition that they are delivering a high standard of care.'

In 2016, 15% of Foundation Year 2 doctors who graduated from the University of Bristol progressed directly to GP training. This placed it 12th out of 24 UK medical schools. The data does not account for doctors electing to take time out before progressing to specialty training.

Last year, Health Education England published a landmark report calling for a national approach to increase primary care contact hours for medical students. The dramatic increase in hours at the University of Bristol will mean that 30% of the medical student curriculum will now involve community learning.


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