Supporting Academic General Practice

Welcome to the Academic General Practice page

Supporting Academic General Practice is a core component of SAPC’s work. On this page, you will find information about

  • APC and its origins in AGP
  • AGP and the wider clinical community
  • Getting In to AGP: for GPs in training; for GPs at all career stages
  • Getting On in AGP: our mentorship scheme; Support for Early Career Academics
  • Getting Involved
  • Future directions for AGP

SAPC and its origins in Academic General Practice

Around half the members of the Society for Academic Primary Care are GPs. Most are GPs with a University based academic contract in teaching and/or research. The discipline of Academic Primary Care has its origins in academic General Practice. The ‘giants’ of the clinical discipline who worked to both describe and teach the core components of the discipline (the consultation, continuity of care); and to understand and address the health needs of the communities with which they worked.

Academic General Practice (AGP) was established in Universities within departments teaching the clinical discipline. These departments flourished to form scholarly groupings delivering both teaching and research. AGP joined forces with the wider multidisciplinary community involved in the scholarly delivery and development of primary  care. The discipline as we know it today was born. You can read more about the origins of the discipline in this book by Howie and colleagues.

AGP and the wider clinical community

AGP, GPs with university academic contracts, make up only a small proportion of the GP community. In the UK. In 2015, there were just 205 senior academic GPs (Senior Lecturer or above) within a GP  workforce of 64,923 (32,628 established GP full time equivalents). AGP make up only 6.5% of all clinical academics. (See Campbell et al  2015)

SAPC recognises all GPs as scholars – in line with GMC guidance for Tomorrow Doctors (“every doctor a scientist and a scholar”). With the commitment to critical development, delivery and evaluation of the discipline an integral part of professional practice.

Most recently, we recognise a growing community of GPs with extended roles in scholarly practice (EGPs). GPs who have a contractual role in systematically teaching, researching and advancing the practice of primary care and GP; with contractual roles outside of traditional university ones.

SAPC welcomes all GPs in to our community. We are actively working to support the work of all GPs engaged in scholarship; including working closely with the RCGP and NIHR.

Getting In to AGP

For GPs in training

You can get involved in academic practice right from the beginning of your GP training. Dr Greg Irving outlines the national and local schemes that provide a route in for GP  trainees.

For GPs at all career stages

AGP welcomes GPs at all career stages, although recognises the career path can seem less clear. The NIHR In Practice Fellowship scheme provides one route in to AGP for established GPs. The scheme offers two years funding to develop the portfolio of work and experience needed to submit a competitive doctoral application. SAPC are in the process of developing resources to support GPs interested in applying for an IPF, or other equivalent local/national funding streams. Watch this space! But here are our Top Tips to get you started

  • Find your story – why academic General Practice? What is it that you want to do (differently)? What are the things that make you curious, frustrated, excited… What is/are the problem(s)  you want to do something about?
  • Practice telling your story – why will you becoming an AGP help, make a difference? How will you persuade someone that they should train you, employ you, fund you to become an AGP? SAPC runs workshops on telling better stories.
  • Make contact with PC academics – talk with other people in the AGP and APC community. People in your geographical area (to find out about local opportunities and support), and in your topic area

Getting On in AGP

Our mentorship scheme

SAPC has been running a successful mentorship scheme for some years now. In 2016, we are rolling the scheme out to Academic Clinical Fellows (ACFs). We know ACFs are the AGP group who don’t currently have access to any other mentorship scheme. We will be rolling out the scheme to the wider AGP community at a later date.

Support for Early Career Academics:

Our Early Career Academics group provides a range of support for both Primary Healthcare Scientists and GPs. Dr Helen Atherton describes more about the work of the group.

Getting Involved

Working with/for SAPC is a great way to gain new experience and skills, to develop your career portfolio. We advertise for nominations for people to stand for Exec every year, and advertise other roles at different times. Join SAPC to be eligible to stand, and to receive our regular newsletter with all the details.

Future directions for AGP

General Practice faces many challenges currently. SAPC has outlined the potential for AGP to both help address  the GP workforce crisis and the wider challenges for Primary Care. We continue to work closely with RCGP and others in realising the potential for AGP and APC.