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RCGPNI calls for high-quality education from medical school through GP Specialty training and beyond

ining and beyond

The RCGPNI published this document in November 2019. It covers a range of areas but specifically highlights medical education as an area of key importance

• As the only medical school in Northern Ireland currently, it is essential that the new Queens University Belfast undergraduate curriculum delivers on its commitments to increase experience in general practice to 25% by 2025, ensuring that medical students appreciate the value of working in general practice and are immersed in primary care settings.
• To deliver increased exposure to general practice at undergraduate level, GPs need to be facilitated with the physical space and the necessary protected time to teach the revised curriculum.
• Exploration of a new delivery model for undergraduate training within the Federation environment is currently being developed in two Federations in Northern Ireland. We call for further investment and development of this model to improve capacity to deliver the high quality of undergraduate training that students have enjoyed in GP practices to date.
• GP trainees require and deserve sufficient training and experience to provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge to be excellent clinicians and general practitioners. The Specialty Training (ST) review currently being undertaken by Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency (NIMDTA) must result in defined standards for clinical supervision, open and supportive training environments, defined clinical experience and effective delivery of the MRCGP curriculum by all providers engaged in the GP specialty training programme at ST1, ST2 and ST3 level in Northern Ireland.
• As the remit of the GP broadens, it is vital that the training programme reflects the modern workload of the profession and ensures newly qualified GPs are equipped to deal with the diversity and challenge that a career in general practice presents. GP training must be extended to at least four years, allowing the training programme capacity to reflect the complexities and depth of modern general practice.
• We should not expect family doctors to work long days to facilitate growing demands on their time and expect them to maintain a pattern of ongoing learning and development, without factoring in additional time and support to facilitate this. Core GP funding must be increased to allow GPs protected time for learning and skills development.
• Being well placed to lead quality improvement work at a population health level as well as at a local level, it is vital that GPs have dedicated time to focus on improvement of services, development of care pathways and activities that facilitate better patient outcomes. Core GP funding must be increased to allow protected time for this work.
• We call for a comprehensive, long-term strategy for quality improvement in general practice with lines of responsibility for delivery and development in the progression from undergraduate, through postgraduate training and to practice and Federation level.
• Protected funded time for GP leadership training should be embedded within the multidisciplinary team (MDT) model moving forward.
• We would ask the Department of Health (DoH) to give urgent considerations to the outcomes of the Task and Finish Group on Academic Training Pathways for GPs when published.