Identifying current training provision and future training needs in allergy available for UK general practice trainees: national cross-sectional survey of General Practitioner Specialist Training programme directors

Prim Care Respir J. 2013 Mar;22(1):19-22. doi: 10.4104/pcrj.2012.00087.


Background: There are ongoing concerns about the quality of care provision for allergy in primary care.

Aims: To identify current training provision in allergy to GP trainees and to understand how this could be enhanced.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of GP Speciality Training (GPST) programme directors was undertaken. Programme directors of the 174 GPST schemes were sent an online questionnaire which was informed by the content of the Royal College of General Practitioners curriculum. Quantitative data were descriptively analysed and a thematic analysis was undertaken of free text responses.

Results: We obtained responses from 146 directors representing 106 training programmes. Responses indicated that two-thirds (62%, 95% CI 53.1 to 71.5) of programmes were providing at least some allergy training, with the remaining third stating that they either provided no training or were unsure. Overall, one-third (33%, 95% CI 22.7 to 42.2) of programme directors believed that all the relevant allergy-related curriculum requirements were being met. Where provided, this training was believed to be best for organ-specific allergic disorders but was thought to be poorer for systemic allergic disorders, particularly food allergy where 67% (95% CI 57.5 to 76.5) of respondents indicated that training was poor. There was considerable interest in increasing the allergy training provided, preferably through eLearning modules and problem-based learning materials supported by those with relevant specialist knowledge.

Conclusions: This UK-wide survey has identified important gaps in the training of GP trainees in relation to allergy care. Addressing these gaps, particularly in the management of systemic allergic disorders, should help to improve delivery of primary care-based allergy care.

MeSH terms

  • Allergy and Immunology / education*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Forecasting
  • General Practice / education*
  • General Practitioners / education*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / trends
  • Humans
  • United Kingdom