Practices are massively underpaid for the costs of teaching medical students, according to an analysis published today.
A medical student spending a whole academic year in general practice would cost £40,700 – but on average practices are only receiving £22,000, according to the analysis in the British Journal of General Practice.
Experts said the findings showed how practices faced major costs from seeking to help encourage students to take up general practice.
Since 2013 hospitals have been paid for student placements using a tariff system, paying at a rate of more than £35,000 a year for a full-time placement. The general practice system was not modernised, leaving “variable” local arrangements, according to researcher Professor Joe Rosenthal, of University College, London, UK.
Some 49 practices took part in the study and all medical schools in England paid £500 towards their costs in collecting data. This gave data on more than 11,000 teaching sessions.
Professor Rosenthal said: “NHS General practices are really struggling to find the time and space to provide medical students with the authentic clinical experience they badly need. This study confirms that the funding currently available to GP undergraduate placement providers is far below the cost to the practice, and also far below the payment available to hospital placement providers.
“A more realistic and equitable tariff for primary care education funding is needed as a matter of urgency.”