Illing, J., van Zwanenberg, T., Cunningham, W.F., Taylor, G., O'Halloran, Cath and Prescott, R. (2003) Pre-registration house officers in general practice: review of evidence. British medical journal, 326. pp. 1019-1022. ISSN 0959-8138

Objectives: To examine the strengths and weaknesses of the national and local schemes for preregistration house officers to spend four months in general practice, to identify any added value from such placements, and to examine the impact on career choices.
Design: Review of all studies that reported on placements of preregistration house officers in general practice.
Setting: 19 accounts of preregistration house officers' experience in general practice, ranging from single case reports to a national evaluation study, in a variety of locations in Scotland and England.
Participants: Views of 180 preregistration house officers, 45 general practitioner trainers, and 105 consultant trainers.
Main outcome measures: Main findings or themes weighted according to number of studies reporting them and weighted for sample size.
Results: The studies were unanimous about the educational benefits of the placements. The additional learning included communication skills, social and psychological factors in illness, patient centred consultations, broadening of knowledge base, and dealing with uncertainty about diagnosis and referral.
Conclusions: Despite the reported benefits and recommendations of the scheme, it is not expanding. General practitioner trainers reported additional supervision that was unremunerated. The reforms of the senior house officer grade may resolve this problem by offering the placements to senior house officers, who require less supervision.



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