The London Academic Training Scheme (LATS): An evaluation

Frank Smith, Jon Fuller, Sean Hilton, George Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background. A recognition of the inability of vocational training schemes (VTS) to teach all the skills needed for modern general practice, and the increasing unwillingness of vocationally trained doctors to commit to GP principal posts, has led to the promotion and piloting of post-VTS educational schemes. The London Academic Training Scheme (LATS) is a year's attachment to a University Department of General Practice in London, comprising seven academic and three clinical sessions. Objective. We aimed to carry out an evaluation of the first 2 years of the LATS from the perspectives of the registrar, their departmental supervisor and the practice. Methods. Data were collected by questionnaires, interviews and focus groups, at the beginning, during and at the end of the scheme. Results. Results are available up to the midway point of the second (1996) intake. The registrars achieved confidence and success in research, with six publications in peer-referenced journals from the first cohort so far. Eight of this cohort were working in inner London 6 months later, seven in academic posts. The overwhelming career intention of the second cohort midway is to work in academic general practice in London. The registrars enjoyed their teaching opportunities and increased their confidence but would have liked more training and more time for teaching. All the supervisors identified positive effects on their departments, but some found the time commitment and the process of supervision challenging. Two out of the dozen practices involved with the first cohort had reservations about the attachment. The rest cited benefits in clinical care, involvement in research and time for their own development. Conclusion. The scheme fulfilled its immediate aims and is addressing the recruitment and retention of GPs in the inner city. Continuing follow-up is planned.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFamily Practice
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Education
  • Family practice
  • Postgraduate
  • Research

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    Smith, F., Fuller, J., Hilton, S., & Freeman, G. (1998). The London Academic Training Scheme (LATS): An evaluation. Family Practice, 15(SUPPL. 1).