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Supporting medical students towards careers in general practice

With the Medical Schools Council, we commissioned Professor Val Wass OBE to investigate how general practice is taught in medical schools and make recommendations to ourselves and other key partners. She was supported by a taskforce which included the British Medical Association, junior doctors, the Royal College of General Practitioners and Society for Academic Primary Care.


The resulting report ‘By choice – not by chance’, which can be viewed below, looks at students experiences at  medical school and shines the spotlight on the need to tackle long held views about general practice which is often perceived as a less valued career. It emphasises that change is key to making sure we have the GP workforce required to meet service and patient demands for the future.

The report put forward a number of recommendations for consideration, including:

  • an urgent review of the current funding systems, processes and guidance for distributing money for undergraduate teaching to ensure equity and quality of learning for students to mirror modern and future health care delivery
  • the need to develop and promote awareness and understanding of general practice to pupils in primary and secondary schools through outreach and greater interaction between school/college pupils and staff

  • improving access to the quality of work experience in general practice for prospective medical students, in line with work experience opportunities more readily available in secondary care

  • the General Medical Council to work with all medical schools to revise their undergraduate curricula to ensure they develop to reflect the patient journey through different healthcare settings

  • greater collaboration to raise the academic profile and future vision of general practice and tackle the tensions which surround general practice.

We are committed to helping to change the perception of GP as a career choice and welcome this informative report and the challenges it sets for the system.

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