Education And Debate

Training for excellence in the inner city: an interview with Richard Savage and Clare Vaughan

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 31 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:544
  1. Douglas Carnall, editor, Career Focusa
  1. a BMJ, London WC1H 9JR

    Recruitment to general practice is at its lowest level for 30 years, and many vocational training schemes report difficulty in attracting new trainees. Spurred on by the aging population of south London, and with the advantage of £1.3m of development money resulting from the Tomlinson report, the south London organisation of vocational training schemes (SLOVTS) has perhaps been able to cope better than most. Its chair, Richard Savage, a general practitioner and course organiser, and Clare Vaughan, an assistant adviser, have devised and implemented many innovative training posts for general practice over the past two years, and their approach seems to be bearing fruit: most of the doctors who have finished the training scheme are now entering practice in south London. They talked to Douglas Carnall about the causes of the crisis and the measures they have implemented to counter it. Clare Vaughan died in the week following the interview (see obituary, p 555).

    DC: Much has been made recently of the fact that recruitment to general practice is at its lowest level in recent times. What are your views on why that is?

    RS: It's hard to know where to begin. I wonder whether medical schools have the correct process to recruit students with the qualities that general practitioners need to have. At my first lecture at medical school, the first lecturer to say anything to us said, “You're extremely privileged to attend this medical school because 70% of you are going to be hospital consultants,” and I think this ethos still exists.

    Perhaps we should scrap the second MB and substitute parts of the second and third years of the British School of Osteopathy's course, which is absolutely brilliant. It's all about people—what people think about disease, how they respond to it when they get it, and what …

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