5 Year GP Based Training – What Difference Will It Make?

5-year GP based training could be offered to doctors as part of a possible plan created by Health Education England and senior GP Sir Sam Everington. It would be a revolutionary move for the sector, providing doctors with more in-depth training that would also provide more stability in terms of location. Could a GP based training scheme make a difference?

What would a 5-year GP based training scheme look like?

GP based training would see doctors graduating from university skipping the standard two-year hospital-based training that they must undertake before they enter specialist GP training. Instead, doctors would enter a five-year GP based training programme that would provide more in-depth GP training.

Senior GP, Sir Sam Everington, believes the move would provide ‘amazing training’ and provide the opportunity to train GPs in areas such as leadership and partnership that typical training might not provide. He believes that the current training system isn’t ‘fit for purpose’ and that a shake-up is needed to provide GPs with the training they need.

The plan could be rolled out as early as 2021, with a pilot scheme featuring seven junior doctors looking to start in London soon. Each of the trainees would be based in a different east London CCG, and if successful, the scheme could be rolled out at a national level.

Pros and cons of GP based training


More in-depth training

Through the scheme, GPs will spend more time in practices, allowing them to benefit from training in different areas such as leadership and benefit from learning things they might not get to learn during a shorter training period.

Stability and control over working locations

As part of the plans, GPs would have better control over working locations, avoiding some of the issues that come with having to move location regularly that can add further pressure to trainee doctors.


Being based in one location could allow for better mentorship, helping doctors to and surgeries to benefit from the continuity.

Better retention rates

It’s hoped that the scheme would improve retention rates, as presently 50% of GP trainees don’t go on to become GPs.

Learning through team working

The scheme would take trainee doctors out of a learning system where they usually learn with other trainee doctors and put them into experienced teams, helping to learn from other medical professionals with the aim of running successful practices together.


Previous proposals have not taken off

This isn’t the first time that in-depth GP training has been suggested, with previous plans for a four-year GP trainee scheme blocked by ministers in 2014.

Trainee doctors could miss out on other training

The current two-year foundation training provides skills and training in several areas of care, which could be missed through a focus on GP based training. This could make it difficult for doctors looking to switch to a different speciality later on.

Stress of general practice could lead to GPs exiting the profession sooner

An in-depth training programme could see trainees buckle under the stress, in light of existing GPs facing added pressures due to growing workloads, etc.

With GP trainee numbers on the rise, GP based training could be the solution for training more capable and confident GPs. Plans for the scheme have yet to be finalised, and is hoped to be launched as an alternative option to existing training, instead of being a replacement.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in working as a GP, why not consider out of hours? Out of hours working provides numerous benefits to GPs and could help you experience new challenges and skills outside of typical roles. Take a look at the latest East Berkshire out of hours vacancies on our specialist jobs page.