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Br J Gen Pract. 1997 Oct;47(423):623-6.

General practitioner teaching in the community: a study of their teaching experience and interest in undergraduate teaching in the future.

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Department of General Practice and Primary Care, King's College School of Medicine and Dentistry, London.



In line with the General Medical Council (GMC) recommendations for undergraduate teaching, many medical schools are implementing new programmes of community-based teaching. Little is known about the enthusiasm of general practitioners (GPs) for, or their ability to undertake, an additional teaching role.


To assess the reservoir of teaching experience among GPs and, in particular, their undergraduate teaching experience, their views on the rewards and problems of teaching, their interest in teaching in the future, and their needs for support.


Postal questionnaire sent to all 417 GP principals with Lambeth, Southwark, and Lewisham family health service authorities (FHSAs) in January 1995.


We achieved a 74% (310/417) response rate. A total of 86% (261/303) of GPs have some sort of teaching experience in their current practice. A large number of medical and non-medical subjects are already being taught. Overall, 75% (228/303) of GPs had experience of undergraduate teaching. Only 13% (41/303) had no teaching experience of any kind. Very few responders felt that teaching was best done in hospital. Different rewards and problems of teaching were perceived by undergraduate teaching GPs and other GPs. There was a high level of interest in undergraduate teaching in the future and a demand for a variety of support measures from medical schools.


New community-based programmes are likely to receive support from GPs, but the vital issues of time, adequate financial reward, and teacher training must be addressed by medical schools if large-scale changes in undergraduate teaching are to be achieved.

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