GPs should enjoy flexible training opportunities and “rewarding” careers and conditions, according to the official briefing on the future of medicine in England in a workforce plan released yesterday.
The plan was released alongside a pledge to reform pension arrangements for senior doctors and a plan for a further increase in medical school places.
The plan proposes a range of measures to improve the experience of trainees in primary care.
There will also be changes to undergraduate medical education, starting with a consultation to “define” what the NHS will need of the future medical workforce.
This is likely to include new skills to ensure doctors can engage “productively” with new technologies, the document says.
The report says it wants to increase medical school places by at least 1,000 and up to 1,500.
Among measures to improve post-graduate training, the report proposes the development of place-based training around training hubs for GP trainees.
NHS Improvement also published plans to improve recruitment and retention of nursing, recruiting 40,000 extra nurses and grabbing headlines by proposing to recruit nurses through Mumsnet.
GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said: “We are pleased that the plan acknowledges the need for more flexibility for doctors in training as well as placing greater emphasis on the skills and experience of more senior doctors including specialty and associate specialists. Bringing medical associate practitioners into regulation will further boost those efforts.
“It is vital that we have a workforce with the right skills in the right places and with the right support, or doctors will come under even greater strain and patient care will suffer.
“Alongside this the need to establish a clear view of what the NHS and patients need from future doctors – both in terms of care and geographic need – it is long overdue.”
Royal College of GPs chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: “Training capacity in primary care must be developed, and the funding must be provided so that hard-pressed GPs have the time, resources and suitable premises to deliver the training for the future generations of GPs and the wider team.
“To this end, we have written to Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock outlining the current unfairness in the way undergraduate GP placements are funded compared to secondary care placements and made clear that this must be addressed urgently.”
A spokesperson for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said: “The Health Secretary’s announcement today on lifting immigration restrictions for qualified doctors and nurses of any nationality who have a job in the NHS is also positive and recognises the scale of the workforce gaps. It’s also in-line with the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendation last week that all medical practitioners should be on the shortage occupation list.
“However, the Plan lacks clarity on how the UK based medical workforce will be recruited and retained.”