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New GP training structure plans

The new schemes will be: West/Northwest; South/Mid West; South; South Leinster; Mid Leinster; and North Leinster. The College said that there will continue to be educational sites in centres including Letterkenny, Tralee and Sligo.

“We are aware that there has been some concern expressed that the changes will reduce the quality of training, but we are confident that this will not happen,” said ICGP CEO Mr Fintan Foy.

The changes will not affect successful GP training applicants with regard to the location of their hospital training posts, though there may be changes in relation to the location of ‘day release’ teaching sites for some GP trainees, the College said. However, the site to which applicants are successfully appointed in 2018 will remain the area in which all four years of clinical placements will take place.

“The changes will result in significant benefits for GP trainees at a time of expansion in trainee numbers and in the anticipated reform of primary care,” said Mr Foy.

“The changes will bring consistency and co-ordination to the national training programme. The profession, through the College will govern not alone the accreditation process but also have the direct responsibility for the delivery of training in the same manner as all other postgraduate training bodies.”

A report proposing new structures for the delivery of GP training was commissioned by the College and undertaken by Prof Frank Keane, former president of the RCSI, this newspaper understands.

Talks between the ICGP and HSE on the transfer of the responsibility of GP training have been ongoing for many years and several targets for completing the transfer have been missed.

It is understood that a number of issues concerning GP training scheme programme directors, currently employed by the HSE, but to be employed by the ICGP following the transfer, have yet to be resolved and that these concerns are adding to delays in completing the process. Around 50 programme directors are in place.

If the issues are addressed, the ICGP is hopeful that the transfer and organisational changes, as proposed in Prof Keane’s report, could be completed by July 2018.

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