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Medical school expansion should be used to train more GPs and psychiatrists

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j766 (Published 13 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j766
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. BMJ Careers
  1. arimmer{at}bmj.com

The additional medical school places promised by the government should be used to produce more GPs and psychiatrists, the medical director of Health Education England (HEE) has said.

Wendy Reid believes that the additional 1500 medical school places should be used to ensure that more doctors are trained in the specialties that are the most needed by the NHS.1

Speaking at a Westminster health conference in London on 9 February, she said: “I think we have got to have a conversation with medical schools. The NHS wants GPs, community doctors, people who understand prevention and public health, and psychiatry.”

Reid said that discussions with medical schools would be based on a report that HEE had commissioned about students’ experiences of general practice while at medical school.2 The report found that there was “anti-GP rhetoric” in medical schools and in some cases students “were actively discouraged from entering primary care.”

Reid also said that doctors needed to be more open to different career paths. “We need a more flexible workforce,” she said. “The fact that you can say that you’re a gastroenterologist a few years out of medical school and never do anything but gastroenterology when your hospital is falling over because of problems in acute medicine is no longer acceptable. We need to think about working across boundaries within medicine as well as across the other professions.”

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