This article will provide an overview of standard GP training and GP applications processes then expand on targeted GP training. Targeted GP training is a new scheme allowing previous GP trainees who have left GP training between August 2010-January 2018 to re-enter GP training if they meet certain criteria.
Following the completion of foundation training, interested candidates can apply to become a GP. GP applications are made on the Oriel website. Please note that once submitted, no changes can be made except for candidate’s and their referee’s details. Late applications will not be accepted.
Trainees are expected to rank their preferences from GP training posts across the UK for GP ST1 positions. Applying for GP training can be stressful so it is best to start early and research what GP training programme suits you best as you will commit to it for 3 years. Changing deaneries midway through training is rare and requires both exceptional circumstances and availability in the desired location which is often not available.
GP training salary depends on the year of training, where you are training to be a GP and what is included in your job description in terms of on-calls and weekend availability. There is a new contract in England where pay correlates with your stage of training. The basic rate in England for ST1 and ST2 is £39,467, increasing to £50,017 in ST3. This is the basic rate which will be increased depending on the number of on-call commitments or whether you are at a GP practice acting as the GP registrar.
In Scotland, the GP registrar supplement is fixed with no increase available depending on year of training or on-call hours worked. Pay for hospital posts will increase based on your banding and number of on-call hours/weekends worked.
GP Recruitment Timeline
Applying to the GP training pathway consists of three main stages. It is important to note that for 2021 applicants, stage 3 of this has been removed. This section will cover the three stages of application.
Stage 1: consists of having full GMC registration by the time you will start your training and 2 years of experience (either 2 UK foundation years or internship and a year at F2 level in another country). Candidates must demonstrate foundation year 2 competences.
Stage 2: this consists of the MSRA (Multi-Speciality Recruitment Assessment) which is a multiple-choice exam consisting of a professional dilemma paper and a clinical problem-solving paper. The MSRA is not a GP entrance exam as it is now used for entry to other specialities as well. The MSRA is competitively ranked and is the last stage in 2021 applications. This means that your score will result in your final national rankings and job allocations.
Stage 3: currently suspended for 2021 recruitment but usually consists of the GP selection centre. The selection centre consists of 3 simulation exercises and 1 written prioritisation exercise.
Top Tip: Read through the RCGP curriculum before the selection centre to maximise chances of consulting like a GP and being successful.
MRCGP Medical Qualification:
The MRCGP (Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners) is a postgraduate medical qualification that is required to gain a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in general practice. The MRCGP exam consists of three different parts:
Workplace-Based Assessments (WPBA), Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) and Recorded Consultation Assessment (RCA). It should be noted that the RCA was introduced to replace the CSA (Clinical Skills Assessment) during Covid-19.
Successful completion of the three MRCGP medical exams will result in an MRCGP qualification.
Exam practice is crucial when it comes to ensuring you pass and there are plenty of resources for GP trainees. One tool is the GP SelfTest tool which is available on the RCGP website.
Targeted GP Training (TGPT):
Targeted GP training is a new scheme launched in February 2019 to increase GP numbers in the UK. This scheme is for doctors who were previous GPs in training who have passed their MRCGP WPBA and one of MRCGP AKT or MRCGP CSA but left training without passing the second exam between August 2010-January 2018.
Therefore, TGPT is available for those who were released from their GP training programme between the time period mentioned above.
For those doctors, this scheme allows previous GP trainees to enter targeted GP training at ST3 level. TGPT lasts for 18 months. This scheme is supported by Health Education England and NHS Education for Scotland.
Candidates for TGPT will have to go through the GP training selection process. Applications are through the General Practice National Recruitment Office (GPNRO).
Frequently asked questions about TGPT can be found here.
Following 12 months of full-time training or the time equivalent to that for less than full time trainees, it is possible for doctors to sit their AKT or CSA if their Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) has a good outcome. Trainees will also require a recommendation from their educational supervisor regarding their ability to sit these exams.
The AKT and CSA exams are valid for seven years. For those who have previously gained passes in them but have expired are required to sit them again. All TGPT trainees must have their readiness to sit exams assessed by their educational supervisor. TGPT trainees are held to the same standard as other GP trainees when it comes to pass marks for CSA/AKT. Two attempts are available for each of the exams for TGPT trainees.
Less than Full-time (LTFT) training is available for those wishing to complete it.
GP Training Pay - pay scales for ST1 - ST3 including GP registrar net pay - GP Training Support [Internet]. GP Training Support. 2021 [cited 4 August 2021]. Available from: http://gptraining.info/gp-training-pay-payscales-st1-st3-including-gp-registrar-net-pay
Applying for GP Training - GP Training Support [Internet]. GP Training Support. 2021 [cited 4 August 2021]. Available from: http://gptraining.info/applying-for-gp-training
Applicant Guidance- General Practice ST1: Recruitment 2021-22 [Internet]. NHS; 2021 [cited 4 August 2021]. Available from: https://gprecruitment.hee.nhs.uk/Recruitment/Applicant-Guidance/GPST1
Targeted GP Training- Frequently Asked Questions [Internet]. NHS- Health Education England; 2021 [cited 5 August 2021]. Available from: https://www.hee.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/documents/FAQs%20v2.pdf