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27 November 2014
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General practice training gets a boost as a university has come up with a way to tempt medical students to take on the profession.
Aston University Medical School, Birmingham will fund 20 scholarship places for local students from deprived areas that will be paid for using the fees of 80 international students when it opens in 2017.
Pro-vice chancellor for health at Aston believes that there needs to be more GP leadership in medical education, particularly as the Government is currently seeking to increase GP numbers across the UK.
He said “We know only one in ten [students] entering medical school wants to be a GP. Even when [students] graduate only one in four want to be GPs, yet we need 50% of our workforce to be in primary care.”
According to Health Education England, 2,688 doctors were recruited into GP training in 2013 meaning that there was a national vacancy rate of 12%. By 2016, the government wants to increase the number of trainees in England to 3,250.
There has been strong interest in the future of Aston University’s Medical School, particularly among local GPs, 70 of whom are considering supporting clinical placements for future undergraduates.
The General Practitioners Committee education, training and workforce subcommittee chair, Krishna Kasaraneni, acknowledges the challenge associated with encouraging 50% of medical graduates to consider general practice.
He believes that general practice lacks the charisma of other specialisms and is regarded as a back-up option to alternative placements.
He said: “Most medical students want to be a cardio-thoracic surgeon and general practice has a negative perception in the media.”