Thinking About Being a GP?

Think GP
Take a look at the RCGP 'Think GP' initiative and the 'There's Nothing General About General Practice' campaign on social media. You can find more information by clicking on the following links:-

Think GP

There's Nothing General About General Practice

To become an independent General Practitioner in the UK, you must undertake at least three years of GP Specialty Training (GPST), normally including 18 months in an approved training practice with a further 18 months in approved hospital posts.

Successful completion of training will gain you your Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) which is required to become a GP in the UK. To gain this you must pass three compulsory elements:

  • Applied Knowledge Test (AKT)
  • Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA)
  • RCGP ePortfolio

Your progress will be monitored at least yearly by an Annual Review of Competency Progress (ARCP) Panel.

From 2016 there will be two planned rounds of GP recruitment, for programmes to commence in August and February each year. The first February intake will be in 2017. The dates and deadlines relating to current recruitment activity are available on the GPNRO website.

The GP application form will only ask for factual information about you and your employment history.

All applicants to CT1/ST1 posts are required to provide evidence of achievement of Foundation Competence within the 3 years prior to the intended commencement date for the advertised post(s).

There are 3 ways you can demonstrate that you possess Foundation Competence:

  1. Currently on a Foundation Programme – Any offer of a programme will be conditional upon you successfully completing the Foundation Programme and being awarded the FACD 5.2 before the start date of GPST.
  2. Already completed a Foundation Programme – if you have previously completed a full UK affiliated foundation programme, you can demonstrate your foundation competence by uploading a copy of your FACD 5.2 within the last three years.
  3. Anybody who is not covered in 1 or 2 above – You must submit a 2016 Alternative Certificate signed by a consultant who has supervised you for at least 3 continuous months within the last three years. The certificate attests to your achievement of Foundation Competence. For the purposes of this documentation, consultant includes General Practitioners, Clinical Directors, Medical Superintendents, Academic Professors and anyone on the specialist register.

Longlisting (formerly known as Stage 1) – Eligibility Requirements
All applications will be assessed against the essential criteria outlined in the National GP Person Specification. The GP National Person Specification can be found on the GPNRO website.

Specialty Recruitment Assessment (SRA - formally known as Stage 2)
SRA is a computer based assessment which forms the short-listing process and is delivered on a number of consecutive days throughout the whole of the UK in a large number of Pearson Vue Computer Testing Centres.

There are two parts to the Stage 2 assessment; both are designed to assess some of the essential competences outlined in the National Person Specification and are based around clinical scenarios.

  1. Professional Dilemmas (110 minutes) -  Each scenario encapsulates a professional dilemma and you are asked about dealing with it. The paper is designed to assess your understanding of appropriate behaviour for a doctor in difficult situations and allow you to demonstrate the application of competencies such as professional integrity, coping with pressure, empathy and sensitivity. It does not require specific knowledge of general practice but does assume general familiarity with typical primary and secondary care procedures. Your responses should represent appropriate behaviour for a second year Foundation doctor.
  2. Clinical Problem Solving (75 minutes) -  These questions present clinical scenarios and require you to exercise judgement and problem solving skills to determine appropriate diagnosis and management of patients. The topics will be taken from areas with which a Foundation Programme Year 2 doctor could be expected to be familiar. There are no questions requiring a specific knowledge of general practice. Questions may be presented in a variety of formats and you will have to choose your answer from the given responses according to your clinical judgement.

Selection Centre (Formally Stage 3)
There are no interviews and assessors do not have access to your application form, your CV or any other biographical information. The competences that are assessed at Selection Centre are:

  • Communication Skills
  • Empathy & Sensitivity
  • Conceptual Thinking & Problem Solving
  • Professional Integrity

Simulation Exercises (10 minutes each)
These will involve simulators and 3 different situations:

  • A consultation with a patient
  • A consultation with a relative or carer
  • A consultation with a non-medical colleague

They do not involve a physical examination and clinical expertise is not specifically assessed. The time allowed for each is 10 minutes.

Written Exercise (30 minutes)
The written exercise will usually require some prioritisation, ranking or reflection of issues and a justification of your responses. The time allowed for the written exercise is 30 minutes.

All exercises will have specific and individual written instructions, with advice to spend time reading and being familiar with the requirements of the exercise.

There will be a briefing session at the start of your Selection Centre session and an opportunity for questions at the end of it; this is NOT a feedback session. Feedback on your performance will be given later and will be after the offers have been made.

A new recruitment process for high scoring applicants at the Specialty Recruitment Assessment (SRA) (competency assessment) has been introduced in 2016. This new direct pathway will enable applicants to move directly to the “offer” stage, without the need for the Selection Centre stage. For the trial, all applicants receiving a score of 575 from SRA will qualify for this new, streamlined route, and will be ranked first before those who were deemed appointable via Selection Centre.

Pre-Specialty Training GP
Should you be unsuccessful during recruitment, some candidates may be offered Pre-Specialty training in GP. This scheme will give NHS experience to applicants who hold foundation competency and provide an insight in GP training. Over the course of a year they will be given support and experience to enable them to make a successful GP application in the future.