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Practices can employ medical apprentices to grow their own GPs from next year

by Julie Griffiths
27 July 2022

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A medical apprenticeship scheme will give practices the opportunity to grow their own future GP workforce from September 2023.

The medical doctor degree apprenticeship will see students employed for the duration of their medical degree where they will learn ‘on the job’ by doing clinical placements alongside attending medical school.

The apprentices will be paid a salary by practices, who will be expected to meet some of the costs of the apprentice’s tuition. However, apprentice levy funds up to £27,000 will also be available to help with some of the training costs.

Practices can now start to consider how they would go about delivering the apprenticeship, which could be part or full time, as the scheme has now been approved for delivery by the Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education, which is sponsored by the Department for Education.

Health Education England (HEE) initially launched a consultation on a proposed apprenticeship scheme last year, with the aim to launch in September 2022. However, the start date has been moved back to September the following year.

The apprenticeship itself will typically last around 60 months and will cover doctors’ first degree and lead to provisional registration with the GMC. Those who graduate from the apprenticeship, like those who graduate through the traditional route, will go on to do F1 and F2 training during which they will train in the area in which they will practice. 

Make the profession ‘more accessible’

The scheme hopes to make the profession more ‘accessible [and] more diverse’. It aims to give practices a means of recruiting underrepresented groups from the local community who might otherwise have struggled to pursue a medical education, as it will remove some of the financial burden from the individual.

The hope is that practices can create a workforce that mirrors more closely the population they serve. It could also help fill posts in under-doctored areas.

The scheme is available to people with the required entry qualifications to become a medical doctor.

Professor Liz Hughes, medical director of undergraduate education at HEE, said the apprenticeship would make a career in medicine accessible for talented people from every background. 

‘HEE has worked alongside many partners to support the development of this new training pathway for future apprentices which has the potential to make the profession more diverse,’ she said.