Experiences and career intentions of general practice registrars from the Netherlands

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For some years prospective general practitioners (GPs) from the Netherlands have come to Britain to complete their training. Not all report enjoying their time here, and many leave this country after training. The aim of this study was to examine reasons for coming to Britain, experiences, perceptions and career intentions. The sample consisted of 14 general practice registrars working in their practice year in Southern England. Data were collected through in-depth semistructured interviews and analysed by thematic qualitative analysis. The main reasons for training in this country were easier access, a quicker route to specialization and the quality of training provided. Most had positive professional and personal experiences and saw the British system of training GPs as up to date and supportive of their educational and professional needs. They highlighted some of the positive aspects of the British system, such as the emphasis on teamwork and collaboration with other primary care professionals. They did, however, point out problems and conflicts; for instance, they saw the health care system in Britain as more bureaucratic and as providing unequal access for different groups of the population. Despite their fear of litigation, which they saw as one of the drawbacks for British general practitioners, most looked favourably on the option of staying in or returning to this country if possible. All registrars valued their stay in Britain; however, personal circumstances often dictated a return to Holland. Our findings have implications for manpower planning and recruitment for general practice in both Britain and Holland.

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