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ACF programme in General Practice (GP)

NIHR ACF posts are usually available each year in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences (NDPCHS) each year. They are awarded in conjunction with the Oxford Deanery GP vocational training scheme. 

Our ACFs are four-year specialty training posts, and recruitment is at ST1. The programme prepares ACF doctors to pass the MRCGP examination with credit and gain specialist accreditation. It also supports those who wish to continue in academic general practice to obtain research funding.

Dr Kay Wang, Academic Clinical Lecturer, is the GP ACF lead.

CLINICAL TRAINING

The Oxford Deanery GP Directorate is in the vanguard of innovation within UK GP training. It has a very strong record for supporting trainees in taking the MRCGP examination, with many achieving merits and distinctions. The teaching emphasises the skills needed to give the highest quality of clinical care. 

Trainees normally take the MRCGP exam in Year 3. The majority completing the programme continue to work within the Thames Valley region and join practices that are active in teaching and research.

ACADEMIC ENVIRONMENT

NDPCHS provides an outstanding environment for the development of trainee clinical researchers. It has an international reputation for developing innovative methods of research synthesis and research use to ensure that research findings change clinical practice. It:

  • was the top-rated department in the UK for primary care research in the 2008 UK Research Assessment Exercise and the 2014 Research Excellence Framework

 

There is a wealth of senior research expertise across methodologies and in a number of clinical areas. These include health behaviours, obesity and weight loss, infection and acute care, cardiovascular conditions, diabetes and metabolic conditions, patient experiences, research methods, big data and evidence-based medicine. The department also has a strong cross-cutting stream of clinical research focusing on diagnostic technology and clinical monitoring (the NIHR Oxford Diagnostic Evidence Cooperative).

ACFs doctors spend 25% of their time in research and educational training, organised as follows:

  • Years 1 and 2 are mainly hospital based, though we encourage Fellows to participate in departmental postgraduate training activities where possible, and to plan their training programme early in their post 
  • Years 3 and 4 are split between clinical general practice (50%) and academic training (50%). The main academic focus is to undertake research projects leading to publications. ACFs also prepare a submission for a research training fellowship or, if applicable, post-doctoral research funding.

 

ACF doctors have an academic supervisor who acts as a mentor during the post. The academic supervisor also facilitates the development of research projects with senior researchers in the department.

All ACFs have the opportunity to undertake the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research. It is recommended that at least one of three contributory modules be taken during Years 1 and 2, particularly during the six-month GP attachment (vs. the hospital attachments). 

ACFs with an interest in research overseas may have an opportunity to involve themselves in international projects. However, conducting field-work overseas is usually not feasible because of the UK clinical training requirements. So, ACF research projects usually need to be UK based.

 

Last reviewed: January 2016

 

profiles of ACF doctors in general practice

Dr Helen Ashdown

Dr Rachel Brettell 


Photo credit: Amanda Mills via the Public Health Image Library (PHIL), cropped