BMA responds to Portuguese minister’s comments about UK general practice training

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK
Published: Friday 3 September 2021
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Responding to comments from Manuel Heitor, Portugal’s minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, in which he claims that GP training in the UK is less demanding than for other medical specialties, Dr Samira Anane, BMA GP committee policy lead for education, training and workforce, said:

“It’s completely inaccurate to describe GP training in the UK as less demanding than for other medical specialties, which does a severe disservice to our highly-skilled family doctors working in practices across the country.

“The British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, and the General Medical Council (GMC) recognise UK-trained GPs as expert medical generalists and specialists in general practice. To practice as a GP in the UK, medical graduates – who receive the same university education regardless of which branch of medicine they wish to pursue - must complete two years of foundation training which forms the bridge between learning as an undergraduate in medical school and the transition into caring for patients on the frontline of the NHS. Completion of a minimum of three years General Practitioner Specialty Training on a GMC approved programme, passing the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners assessments, and gaining a Certificate of Completion of Training from the GMC are then required.

“Assurance processes are in place to ensure doctors who move to the UK from abroad, or demonstrate equivalent knowledge, skills and experience, also meet these high standards. UK General Practice Specialty Training is an intellectually rigorous medical training programme, which enables doctors to gain the skills and experience required to make a huge and vital contribution to healthcare in the UK, providing expert care and treatment to millions of patients.

“We must recognise the highly specialised field of family medicine, and push back on any suggestions that expert generalists are in any way less qualified than their colleagues in other fields.”


Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.