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Thursday 21 June 2012 by David Mclean
I write in response to the article ‘End traditional training, says watchdog’. The part that concerns me is the suggestion to ‘end the “general practitioner” model’.
My point is that training a person down a less narrow channel than the general practitioner model reduces flexibility, because a narrowly trained person is likely to have less opportunity and possibly less inclination to change speciality later on than one who started with a broader base. Alternatively, change would require further training which would cost money; with the person having been put at a disadvantage through work going thin in the first speciality, and with a further disadvantage being encountered by trying to get into a new field at an older age.
We already have a narrow education to school-leaving age with three A-levels being taken, compared with France (Baccalaureate), Germany (Abitur) and Scotland, and should not create a further narrowing that begins at the age of 16.
The reduction in flexibility is probably predicated on the basis of being in the interests of the consumer (client). It might or might not be better for the employer. I do not think it is better for the individual concerned and I doubt it is better for the long-term big picture. Note the reference to long-termism.
I speak as a part-retired sole-practitioner GP solicitor who served a local town as the only firm in the immediate area and finished with a sale and a clean record. A push towards specialisation at the training stage would not only reduce flexibility, but also drive out the sole practitioner who needs to be generalist rather than specialist; while obliging the client to take steps to find a larger firm. We have GPs in medicine, accountancy, architecture and probably other professions, and they will have received broad-based training and education. I think the proposal could lead to an unhealthy distortion in the market.
I hope the experts who influence our regulation take on board this point of view.
David Mclean, Walsall, West Midlands
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