General practitioner England

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Training boards exclude GPs

GP leaders have warned that fledgling LETBs (local education and training boards) are being set up without GP involvement.

The BMA is concerned that the boards, which will take responsibility for medical education and training when SHAs (strategic health authorities) are abolished from April 2013, will be inconsistent across England and prioritise the workforce needs of employers over the long-term education of future generations of doctors.

Doctors and medical students at last month’s BMA annual representative meeting called for LETB development to be halted until a properly planned process could be put in place.

Sixteen LETBs have been proposed to help healthcare providers across England plan and develop their workforce, overseen by the new body HEE (Health Education England).

HEE was officially established as a special health authority earlier this month. It will review and approve SHA education and training plans for 2013/14 and develop the criteria for setting up LETBs.

Role for LMCs

GP negotiator Beth McCarron-Nash said: ‘We are calling for increased input from GPs in terms of the representation of GPs as shadow LETBs are established, which we believe should be via local medical committees. GP education and the GP workforce have very different needs from our hospital colleagues.’

Dr McCarron-Nash added that doctors were concerned that ‘dominance from powerful foundation trusts’ might see education tailored to workforce needs.

She said GP leaders were working with the BMA junior doctors committee to lobby the HEE on issues including adequate input from different types of doctor.

The Department of Health has just published Introducing Health Education England to raise awareness of the roles of the HEE and LETBs.

An authorisation process for LETBs is set to begin from October.

The report sets out key targets for HEE and LETBs, including enabling a shift to demand-led workforce planning and engaging with professional bodies and royal colleges.