'Just a lovely luxury?' What can public health attachments add to postgraduate general practice training?

Wills, J; Reynolds, J; Swanwick, T; (2009) 'Just a lovely luxury?' What can public health attachments add to postgraduate general practice training? Education for primary care, 20 (4). pp. 278-84. ISSN 1473-9879

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BACKGROUND: Changing trends in the role of general practice and general practitioners (GPs), including a focus on commissioning and practice population health needs, were reflected in the specialty training curriculum published by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) in 2007. In response to these developments the London Deanery established training attachments to the public health departments of ten primary care trusts (PCTs) across London, incorporated into three-year GP specialty training programmes. These attachments were evaluated in 2008 by London South Bank University.<br/> AIMS: The aims of the evaluation were to assess the attachment's suitability for addressing areas of the RCGP curriculum; and to explore perceptions of its value for GP training and for future practice.<br/> METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were carried out with two cohorts of trainees towards the end of their public health attachment, and with public health trainers and GP training programme directors from participating schemes.<br/> FINDINGS: The training attachments were generally considered to offer good opportunities for trainees to fulfil both public health competences and to address relevant areas of the RCGP curriculum, through a variety of types of work. However, this did not necessarily influence either the level of importance attributed to public health in comparison with other clinical training posts or the perceived impact of the attachment on the trainees' future practice as GPs. The reported learning outcomes and value of the attachment for the public health trainers and programme directors reflected the changing and perceived future demands on GPs, but these views were not generally shared by trainees.<br/> CONCLUSIONS: Public health attachments may offer general practice training programme opportunities for the development of skills and knowledge that are relevant to the changing nature of general practice. Yet, there still appears to be a barrier for trainee GPs in acknowledging their role in non-clinical, population-focused healthcare provision. This raises questions for the way in which public health is presented in medical education and how the future GP workforce conceptualise their role and responsibilities.<br/>

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Cohort Studies, Education, Medical, Graduate/*organization & administration, Humans, Physicians, Family/*education, Program Evaluation, Public Health/*education, Cohort Studies, Education, Medical, Graduate, organization & administration, Humans, Physicians, Family, education, Program Evaluation, Public Health, education
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
PubMed ID: 19689848
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/1813


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