Personal Views

Should we accept all comers?

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7180.407 (Published 06 February 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:407
  1. Malcolm Lewis, vocational training scheme course organiser,
  2. Glyn J Elwyn, senior lecturer in general practice
  1. Swansea
  2. Cardiff

    In the 1980s, when general practice was popular, selecting applicants to vocational training schemes was a matter of picking the best from an excess of good candidates. If competition raises standards the converse must also be true. So now that fewer doctors want a career in general practice, the overall calibre of applicants is falling, and it is essential that standards be set for accepting doctors on to vocational training schemes.

    Training schemes have a dilemma: faced with a palpable need to train more general practitioners, should they accept all comers or apply entry thresholds? If we set thresholds what minimum criteria should we apply? There are two major considerations: clinical competence and communication skills.

    General practice should no longer tolerate being perceived as the easy option

    General practice accepts entry to training without membership of a professional college—specifically the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). Anyone with full General Medical …

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