Scotland

Extra places on 'innovative' courses to attract more into GP careers

GP with patient Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption General practice is being promoted to medical students through new course places

Extra places on "innovative" medical courses have been funded to get more students into GP careers.

The Scottish government is paying for 85 places at three universities which are designed to make general medicine more attractive to medical students.

The universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow have developed specialist teaching to promote the career choice.

The government aims to increase the number of GPs by at least 800 over the next decade.

The new courses will focus on general practice.

A new route for experienced healthcare professionals to enter medicine will also be introduced.

'Attractive career'

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "The innovative proposals from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow universities will see 85 new places to specifically promote general practice as a long-term career for young doctors, and allow experienced healthcare professionals who may be interested in becoming doctors to enter medicine.

"The courses will include more involvement of GPs in teaching and assessment and enhanced GP placements in deprived and rural settings.

"While our new GP contract will make general practice a more attractive career by cutting workloads and giving doctors more time with patients, these new medical places are a further step we are taking to train and retain more family doctors in Scotland."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The focus of the new places will be on practical experience

The Scottish government's National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan commits to creating additional undergraduate medical places and medical schools were asked to put forward proposals for new courses with a focus on general practice.

The three successful bids will start taking on students next year.

At the University of Aberdeen, 30 places are being offered which will see all students undertake an enhanced GP programme, with a set minimum of teaching time and an additional range of GP options.

The University of Glasgow will also provide 30 places, all students gaining enhanced exposure to primary care and an option for intensive experience of primary care in deprived and rural settings.

An innovative course for an extra 25 students at the University of Edinburgh will allow experienced healthcare professionals to enter medicine and combine part time study and their existing job, with large parts of the course delivered online.

This course is designed to target high-calibre candidates who are more likely to be retained in NHS Scotland.

The first group of 60 additional places will begin in 2019-20, with 25 places commencing in 2020-21.

Between 2015 and 2021 the Scottish government says it will have increased the number of medical places in Scottish universities from 848 to 1038 - a rise of 22%.

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