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Identifying critical success factors for designing selection processes into postgraduate specialty training: the case of UK general practice
  1. Simon Plint1,
  2. Fiona Patterson2
  1. 1GP National Recruitment Office, and GP Dean NHS Education South Central, Oxford, UK
  2. 2City University, London and Work Psychology Group Ltd, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Simon Plint, NHS Education South Central, The Triangle Roosevelt Drive, Oxford PGMDE OX3 7XP, UK; splint{at}


The UK national recruitment process into general practice training has been developed over several years, with incremental introduction of stages which have been piloted and validated. Previously independent processes, which encouraged multiple applications and produced inconsistent outcomes, have been replaced by a robust national process which has high reliability and predictive validity, and is perceived to be fair by candidates and allocates applicants equitably across the country. Best selection practice involves a job analysis which identifies required competencies, then designs reliable assessment methods to measure them, and over the long term ensures that the process has predictive validity against future performance. The general practitioner recruitment process introduced machine markable short listing assessments for the first time in the UK postgraduate recruitment context, and also adopted selection centre workplace simulations. The key success factors have been identified as corporate commitment to the goal of a national process, with gradual convergence maintaining locus of control rather than the imposition of change without perceived legitimate authority.

  • Human resource management
  • medical education & training

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  • Authorship: SP conceived of the original idea, interpreted the evaluation data and wrote the paper. FP conceived of the evaluation, interpreted the evaluation data and wrote final versions of the paper.

  • Guarantor: SP is guarantor for the paper.

  • Competing interests Both authors have been involved in the design and development of the GP recruitment process. SP is seconded to the Department of Health MMC team, but the views expressed are personal, derived from the experience of leading the national recruitment process on behalf of the Committee of General Practice Educational Directors. FP is employed by the Work Psychology Group which advises the Department of Health on selection methodology.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

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