New Century, New Challenges

This report summarises recent developments in academic general practice and primary care in medical schools in the United Kingdom. It considers the challenges facing departments of general practice and primary care, and how further investment in these departments could help to address major challenges facing academic medicine and the health service.

The report has been prepared by a working group of the Heads of University Departments of General Practice and Primary Care in the UK. The aim of this group is to support the development of general practice and primary care, working from university centres of excellence in research and education. The departments not only make a substantial contribution to academic medicine in the UK; they also support medical generalists and primary care practitioners working for patients in the National Health Service. Increasingly, university centres relate to broader networks for education, research and service development in general practice and primary care.

The report is based on a review of published materials, censuses of staff in 1998 and 2001, a survey of heads of UK academic departments of general practice and primary care, and facilitated group discussions with heads of departments. The report demonstrates the substantial progress that departments have made, with limited resources, in education, research, clinical care and service development. The consequence is that a relatively small complement of senior academic staff is being stretched in many directions. Further progress is both possible and necessary, if academic general practice and primary care is to contribute fully to addressing challenges in medical education, the delivery of high quality patient care and the recruitment and retention of a critically aware workforce.

You can download the full report from here.