Health Secretary endorses West Midlands training programme for GPs in landmark speech

Posted on 5 August 2015 (Permalink)

A WMAHSN programme which provides a platform for GPs to gain enhanced skills in urgent care settings has gained the support of the Secretary of State for Health.

The Post-Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) Fellowship in Urgent and Acute Care programme was developed by Health Education West Midlands (HEWM), supported by WMAHSN. The programme has so far enabled seven local GPs to undertake additional skills training to enhance the services provided within the emergency department, medical assessment unit and ambulance settings, successfully supporting the Fellows to develop a broad range of knowledge and skills related to urgent care.

On 19 June, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt set out the first steps in a new deal for GPs. During his speech, he made specific reference to the programme as an exemplar for developing specific skills in future GPs, saying: “Building on the success of a Health Education England pilot in the West Midlands, we will incentivise a number of newly qualified GPs with an extra year of training and support to develop specific skills needed in areas such as paediatrics, mental health and emergency medicine.”

The Fellowship has proved popular with the GPs who have participated in the scheme and with the teams in which the Fellows have been placed. The Fellows have become more adept at making best use of community-based alternative care pathways, so supporting patients with acute care needs to remain outside hospital and supporting improved joined-up care across GP, community and A&E settings. In addition, the pilot also revealed numerous factors that may be important to the future success of the scheme, whether in the West Midlands or nationally. The success of the pilot provides evidence that can inform future NHS strategy and policy. 

Sir Keith Pearson, Chair of Health Education England, has also endorsed the programme: “There is a greater need than ever before for joined up working within our national health service. Our GP workforce must be capable of providing comprehensive care and access to community care pathways for an increasingly aged population of patients, who present with an ever-wider range of complex health issues. The Health Education West Midlands Post-CCT GP Fellowship programme addresses this need, by providing enhanced skills training for the GP of the future. This innovative scheme demonstrates that training can continue to occur across sectors, enabling patients to be seen by the right professional, in a timely manner.”

By the end of 2015, the programme aims to have up to nine fellowships in place, working between general practice and A&E departments, with evaluation delivered by partner universities. You can read more about the progress of the programme in the HEWM Post-CCT GP Fellowship in Urgent and Acute Care Programme Summary and Update: August 2015