Support for innovative courses to train more GPs and enable existing healthcare professionals to enter medicine.
More medical students will be encouraged into general practice through innovative new undergraduate courses.
Funding of £5.8 million will deliver 85 additional places at the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The new courses will focus on general practice, supporting the Scottish Government’s aim to increase the number of GPs by at least 800 over the next decade. A new route for experienced healthcare professionals to enter medicine will also be introduced.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “The innovative proposals from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow universities will see 85 new places to specifically promote general practice as a long-term career for young doctors, and allow experienced healthcare professionals who may be interested in becoming doctors to enter medicine.
“The courses will include more involvement of GPs in teaching and assessment and enhanced GP placements in deprived and rural settings.
“While our new GP contract will make general practice a more attractive career by cutting workloads and giving doctors more time with patients, these new medical places are a further step we are taking to train and retain more family doctors in Scotland.”
Professor Steve Heys, Head of the School of Medicine and Medical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen added: “This is fantastic news for the North East and North of Scotland. We have spearheaded a number of innovative initiatives to encourage more medical students to pursue a career as a GP when they graduate and we have worked hard to develop programmes to assist those who may never have considered a career in medicine before to be able to apply.
“We are delighted that the fantastic work we are doing with our medical students has been recognised and rewarded by the Scottish Government with these extra 30 places and it is great news for the communities in North East and North Scotland who will directly benefit.”
Dr Nick Fluck, Medical Director at NHS Grampian and Honorary Professor of University of Aberdeen, said: “Students study in a thriving medical school on the Foresterhill Campus - one of the largest multi-specialty clinical sites in Europe - with superb teaching and extensive research facilities. They are also in the unique position of training alongside staff at the forefront of modern clinical practice in the heart of an acute hospital setting. Grampian is a wonderful place to study and work in medicine and to have this opportunity offered to more students is wonderful news.
"This once again also underlines the close bond between the University and the NHS in Grampian."
Dr Emma Watson, Director of Medical Education at NHS Highland said: “NHS Highland is very excited to be partnering the University of Aberdeen on this initiative. We have a long standing history of working successfully in partnership with the university to deliver the 4th and 5th year curriculum in Highland clinical settings across general practice and our hospitals as well as our award winning partnership in the delivery of remote and rural track 4th year.”
The Scottish Government’s National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan commits to creating additional undergraduate medical places and medical schools were asked to put forward proposals for new courses with a focus on general practice. The three successful bids are:
- 30 places at the University of Aberdeen: all students will undertake an enhanced GP programme, with a set minimum of teaching time and an additional range of GP options.
- 30 places at the University of Glasgow: all students will gain enhanced exposure to primary care and students can opt for intensive experience of primary care in deprived and rural settings. on the new Community Orientated Medical Experience Track (“COMET”.)
- 25 places at the University of Edinburgh: this innovative course will allow experienced healthcare professionals to enter medicine and combine part time study with their existing job, with large parts of the course delivered online. It is designed to target high calibre candidates who are more likely to be retained in NHS Scotland.
60 of the additional places will begin in 2019-20, 25 places will begin in 2020-21. Between 2015-16 and 2020-21 the Scottish Government will have increased the number of medical places in Scottish universities from 848 to 1038 - a rise of 22% - including funding Scotland’s first Graduate Entry Medical programme and widening access places.