A recruitment drive instigated by Health Education England will place flexibility at the centre of a potential GP career.
Health Education England believes that general practice should shed the stuffy reputation associated with the profession, and develop new models of working to attract talented professionals.
The healthcare organisation believes that placing less emphasis on traditional models of working will appeal to young people.
Indeed, research suggests that this is a major barrier to teenagers working towards a career in medicine.
This is hardly ideal considering the many other problems which the NHS faces in recruitment.
The undertaking of studying for a medical degree is a massive commitment in and of itself, and it could be easily argued that it is outside of the economic practicalities of many young people, regardless of their desire to work in medicine.
This new scheme comes as the current recruitment phase and accompanying campaign come to a close.
Results from an earlier recruitment phase suggests that the number of trainees will be significantly higher than in recent years, but insufficient uptake is still recognised as a serious risk by Health Education England.
The attempts to attract GPs via flexible working practices is part of a multi-pronged approach, with an emphasis on at the opportunities of a portfolio career.
Health Education England wish to make it easier for people to enter the profession, and to enjoy flexible working patterns once they do so.
HEE director and dean of education, Professor Simon Gregory, who works as a GP in Northampton, offered his opinion that the new initiative is not an attempt to gloss over problems in general practice, but instead to instigate a positive new working culture.
“I love being a GP – I just don’t like general practice at the moment. The workload, the bureaucracy and all the other things like pensions are a major factor. What we’re not trying to do is pretend that general practice is in a perfect state at the moment. Doctors in training are intelligent young people and they want an authentic message. Our message is about the vision for general practice – it has reached its nadir, but with things like the GP Forward View, we’re articulating a vision for primary care that could be really special,” Gregory commented.
Gregory also suggested that this is a forward-thinking idea, and one that could play a role in improving the lives of existing GPs, as well as recruiting talented individuals to the profession.
“What we’re trying to say is – be a part of that future. I know that people have criticised us for trying to recruit into general practice when they say it’s so awful, but actually one of the best solutions is having a sufficient workforce.”