The Research Department of Primary Care & Population Health at UCL hosts one of the largest programmes of integrated clinical academic training for GPs in the UK. Each year we are pleased to offer at least two GP Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) posts which provide specialist clinical training in general practice combined with training in academic primary care (research and teaching), usually over a four year period.
These posts form part of the NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowships Programme which is a national initiative offering entry-level (ST1) specialist training to doctors who have Foundation competences in medicine and can demonstrate that they have outstanding potential for development as a clinical academic. Programmes are usually for 4 years of which 75% is clinical and 25% academic overall. In some years there are opportunities for current GP trainees to apply for transfer into ACF programmes at ST2 or ST3.
The UCL GP ACF Programme
GP ACFs at UCL are based in the Research Department of Primary Care & Population Health where they receive individually tailored academic mentoring and supervision in order to develop knowledge, understanding and skills in research methods and medical education.
The academic programme includes:
1. Practical experience of research through apprenticeship to an established primary care research team with opportunities to conduct individual research with a view to developing an application for a doctoral training fellowship.
2. Practical experience of undergraduate teaching as part of the UCL MBBS programme with a view to accreditation by the Higher Education Academy (HEA).
UCL GP ACF posts are fully integrated into the HEE Royal Free GP Specialist Training Programme general practice training programme. Trainees rotate during years one and two through a sequence of 4 x 6 month clinical posts. Academic training is weighted towards years three and four but ACFs develop links with the Department of Primary Care & Population Health during years one and two in order to promote the integration of their clinical and academic training.
During years three and four GP ACFs pursue an extended GP Registrar post in a North London training practice which is also actively engaged in research and/or undergraduate education. Over these two years Fellows develop their clinical competences as general practitioners while gaining in-depth exposure to academic primary care as they divide their time 60% clinical and 40% academic in year three; and 40% clinical, 60% academic in year four. Throughout the programme Fellows are linked to one of our established research groups where, under the supervision of their research supervisor, they gain experience and training with a view to journal publication and development of an application for a competitive, externally funded research fellowship. All ACFs are also actively engaged in teaching UCL medical students (in practice and on campus) on one of more of the Department's undergraduate teaching programmes.