European standards for undergraduate medical education in general practice; a blueprint - for action

Educ Prim Care. 2023 Jan;34(1):2-6. doi: 10.1080/14739879.2022.2155997. Epub 2023 Feb 2.


There is compelling evidence that general practice (GP) is the most effective form of healthcare. However, healthcare policy appears independent of evidence and GP is woefully under-resourced in all countries, and this affects recruitment. Recruitment to GP is proportional to the quantity and quality of undergraduate experience and national and transnational guidelines can improve undergraduate experiences by defining both the desired quantity and quality. There is good evidence that these professionally developed guidelines can be effective in changing Government policy if they are used as a touchstone to collaborate with policymakers.EURACT (European Academy of Teachers in General Practice / Family Medicine) have therefore developed transnational guidelines covering the European region. The guidelines cover the desired quantity, quality and support for undergraduate experience. Three main design principles have been used. Firstly, it is democratic. Secondly it is evidence-based, using extensive literature searching, situational analysis and surveys. Finally, it adopts a 'principles-based approach'. Generalist medicine is articulated as a series of interconnected principles that integrate and then re-focus specialist medicine to achieve the enhanced patient-orientated outcomes of primary-care. This way of articulating generalist practice delivers general principles, which can be used as learning outcomes, that are adaptable to a wide range of learning environments. Most clinical learning documents are irrelevant and are destined for dusty drawers or forgotten digital files. We therefore encourage primary care educators to use these guidelines to work with policy-makers at all levels to advocate for change, strengthening primary care education at local, national and international levels.

Keywords: Curriculum; General Practice; Guidelines; Standards; Undergraduate.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Family Practice / education
  • General Practice* / education
  • Humans
  • Students