Letters How to increase GP numbers

Increasing GP numbers is not that simple

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g6968 (Published 26 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6968
  1. Simon R Thornton, academic clinical fellow in primary care1
  1. 1University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2PS, UK
  1. thorntonsimon{at}hotmail.com

The lack of primary care representation on the Medical Schools Council and medical school websites is interesting.1 However, this is just one aspect of a complex problem and does not explain, for example, the variation between medical schools in the proportion of graduates entering primary care.

The GP Task Force Report and research papers have called for studies on why this difference exists.2 3 What role does selection to schools play (nature) and what role do the schools themselves play (nurture)? Do we take truly undifferentiated “stem doctors,” as they have been described, and mould them during their time at medical school, or do these students already have strong preconceived ideas? Many studies have looked at factors that influence choice of specialty.4

We know the recruitment figures. What we don’t know is why 11.2% of Cambridge graduates were appointed to GP training in 2012 compared with 38.5% from Keele.5

Investigation into the differences between the “worst” and “best” performers in terms of producing future GPs will probably shed light on how we can improve recruitment, and seems less radical than firing the Medical Schools Council.


Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6968


  • Competing interests: None declared.


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