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RCGP launches GP recruitment video

Video targets medical students and encourages them to choose general practice as a career

Ingrid Torjesen

Monday, 26 January 2015

A recruitment video encouraging medical students to choose general practice as a career has been launched by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

It is believed to be the first time that a medical royal college has used a video campaign to increase the numbers of medical graduates choosing its medical specialty.

The RCGP hopes to mirror the success of a similar recruitment initiative aimed at boosting the numbers choosing teaching as a profession and uses the video to tackle media stereotypes that general practice is less stimulating and exciting than other medical careers. 

The video features newly qualified doctors talking about their real-life experiences of being a GP, showing the huge contribution they make to the lives of their patients and the wider NHS. It depicts the unique and varied role that GPs have in the health service – providing ‘whole person’ and continuous care for patients throughout their lifetimes. It highlights the diverse career opportunities available to GPs and shows the intellectual stimulation, leadership, autonomy – and exciting challenges – that GPs enjoy in everyday practice. And finally, it talks about the variety of settings in which GPs carry out their work, including cruise ships and prisons.

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the RCGP, said: “We hope that our video will challenge the media perception that general practice is less exciting and stimulating than secondary care.
“Reality programmes and dramas set in hospitals are always fast-paced and thrilling while programmes about being a GP are very few and far between, and mostly reinforce outdated stereotypes about GPs handing out cough medicine and referring the more difficult cases to consultants.
“This video – and the GPs who appear in it – show that nothing could be further from the truth. Being a GP is exciting, varied and challenging, as well as being the only role in the NHS that delivers care for the whole person over their lifetime. 

“GPs are now performing procedures every day in our consultation rooms that a decade ago would automatically have been referred to hospital specialists.
“We hope the video will reach out to the medical students and trainee doctors who are considering the direction of their future careers and show them what a brilliant profession general practice really is.”

Research by the RCGP shows that up to 10,000 family doctors are now aged 55+ and will be approaching retirement age in the next few years – but insufficient numbers of medical graduates are entering the profession to replace them.
Last year, 1,527 of the 7,341 doctors who completed foundation training chose to work in general practice, with particular shortages in the East Midlands, North West, North East of England and Yorkshire and Humber. As well as the shortfall in recruitment to training places, the number of unfilled GP posts has gone up from 2.1% in 2010 to 7.9% in 2013.

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