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Training the Future GP

Enhancing delivery of GP Specialty Training

Vision and actions for General Practice Specialty Training reform to transform the future GP


This report is the result of evidence review, place-based pilots and extensive engagement with key national stakeholders, patients, doctors in training and educators, with the generous support of the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Medical Director for Curriculum and Education. It outlines an exciting vision of how we can reform the delivery of education to general practitioners, better preparing GPs for future practice in different models of care, addressing health inequalities and planetary health, and enhancing areas of clinical care such as mental health.

In the decade of HEE leading General Practice Specialty Training, we have overseen the biggest ever increase in the number of postgraduate doctors accepting places to train as GPs in England, by over 50 per cent to 4,032 in the last year. In this time, we have also published two seminal reports in support of English NHS General (medical) Practice. The Primary Care Workforce Commission, led by Professor Martin Roland, outlined a vision for team-based primary care led by GPs. By choice – not by chance, led by Professor Val Wass and co-sponsored with Health Education England by the UK Medical Schools Council, has been applied in every English medical school. Both have received international acclaim.

Throughout this decade, our primary care deans and their teams have continued to innovate and to advocate for high quality GP Specialty Training. The separation of standard setting by the General Medical Council, and curriculum setting and assessment by the Royal College of General Practitioners (as is similar across specialties), provides a thorough curriculum. This curriculum has recently been updated. The revision, combined with our move to postgraduate doctors in GP training now spending 24-months of the standard 36-month programme (and any extensions) in practice, gives us a unique opportunity to reform the delivery of training so that we can be confident of preparing future GPs for a rapidly changing world.

I am grateful to all involved and to all that were engaged in the work, especially the workstream leads. This report gives an excellent foundation as we create the Workforce Training and Education Directorate of the new NHS England, and prepare the ground for the forthcoming NHS Long Term Workforce plan. The clarity of vision in this report, as in the first two reports, aligns with and incorporates other reports, such as General Sir Gordon Messenger’s review on NHS leadership, and Dr Claire Fuller’s stocktake on primary care, on which HEE colleagues led the workforce section. Primary care remains the foundation of universal healthcare and our National Health Service. It is vital that we continue to support a sufficient and sustainable workforce. This report is part of that aspiration and I am delighted to celebrate its publication.

Professor Wendy Reid, Director of Education and Quality and Executive Medical Director, Health Education England



As chair of this reform programme I would like to thank HEE’s PIC team, the workstream chairs and the primary care deans and their teams for the commitment to delivering this reform report. The scores of people that worked on it and provided input is vast and many did this alongside the COVID and recovery responses. We acknowledge those we managed to record in the appendices but I fear such acknowledgements always inadvertently miss some. If we do, my apologies and thanks.

Professor Simon Gregory MBE DL, Medical Director, Primary and Integrated Care, Health Education England

Themes and opportunities for better care