The role of general practitioners in medical school admission interview panels in the UK (2012-2014): a national survey.

21 Nov 2017

OBJECTIVE: Recent primary care workforce pressures in the UK have prompted national reviews. Recommendations to increase the proportion of medical students entering general practice have led to interest in the role of medical schools in career choices. This study sought to identify the career backgrounds of admissions leads at UK medical schools and the proportion of general practitioners on admission interview panels. DESIGN: A national survey using a proforma circulated to all UK medical school admission leads via the Medical Schools Council. SETTING: UK medical schools. PARTICIPANTS: UK medical schools. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalence of assessment lead and panel members' professional groups. RESULTS: Responses were received from 18 (54.5%) of the 33 UK medical schools. General practitioners led the admissions process in 2 (11%) of these. Fifteen schools were able to furnish detailed data about interview panel composition, having held a combined total of 876 distinct interview panels during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 admission years; 683 panels (78%) included a secondary care physician, but only 261 panels (29.8%) included general practitioners. General practitioner representation ranged from 3.8% to 100% of individual schools' panels; however, eight schools (about half the respondents able to offer numbers of participants) omitted general practitioner representation in more than half of their interview panels. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the UK policy focus to increase the proportion of medical students becoming general practitioners, doctors from this clinical background are not proportionately represented as admissions leads or on admissions interview panels. Increasing general practitioner involvement in admissions processes may be one way in which medical schools can support general practice as a career aspiration.