Health

GP recruitment drive film 'tackles outdated stereotypes'

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Media captionA clip from the Royal College of General Practitioners' recruitment video

Doctors have turned to a recruitment video to convince medical students that being a GP is not a dull career.

It has been launched by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), which claims at least 10,000 extra GPs will be needed by 2020.

The three-minute film features doctors talking about how they find general practice exciting and varied.

NHS England is launching a big initiative next week to boost GP numbers.

The RCGP says it wants to tackle stereotypes of general practice as being less stimulating and exciting than other medical careers.

The film will be shown at a series of regional roadshows around the UK next week, timed to coincide with the recruitment round when medical graduates decide their training specialty.

Dr Maureen Baker, the chairwoman of the RCGP, said: "Reality programmes and dramas set in hospitals are always fast-paced and thrilling.

"But programmes about being a GP are very few and far between, and mostly reinforce outdated stereotypes about GPs handing out cough medicine and referring the more difficult cases to consultants.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.

"While it might be unusual for a medical royal college to make a promotional video, we hope it will make a tangible impact."

'Best job in the world'

The RCGP has been campaigning for more investment in general practice, and it believes the tide is now turning.

BBC News understands that on Monday NHS England will launch a package of measures to help encourage recruitment and retention among GPs.

This will include a new scheme to encourage family doctors who may be considering a career break or retirement to instead remain working part-time.

The measures will be funded by money from the £1.2bn investment announced in the Autumn Statement for a four-year plan to improve GP infrastructure.

Scottish health ministers have also recently pledged an extra £40m for general practice, while the Welsh Government has announced a £10m cash injection for primary care. Northern Ireland says it has no issues encouraging students to become GPs.

Last year, around 20% of the 7,341 doctors who completed foundation training chose to work in general practice, with particular shortages in the East Midlands, the North West and North East of England and Yorkshire and Humber.

The RCGP says that the number of unfilled GP posts went up from 2.1% in 2010 to 7.9% in 2013.

Ministers in England have committed to train 5,000 more GPs by the end of the decade.

Dr Baker added: "I've been a GP for over 30 years and I still believe it is the best job in the world."

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