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Logo of brjgenpracRCGP homepageJ R Coll Gen Pract at PubMed CentralBJGP at RCGPBJGP at RCGP
Br J Gen Pract. 2004 January; 54(498): 50–56.
PMCID: PMC1314780

The role of UK general practitioners with special clinical interests: implications for policy and service delivery.


The development of specialist clinical interests by general practitioners (GPs) is currently receiving considerable attention in the United Kingdom. Although GPs have long been able to pursue such interests, it is only in recent years that they have taken on within primary care what were previously secondary care tasks, provided such services for patients outside their own practices, and received payment for them. The expansion of such services has been highlighted as a target in the NHS plan for England. Managerial and professional guidance is becoming available that seeks to clarify the role and nature of specialisation within general practice, to learn from the experiences of individuals who have embarked on specialist practice, and suggests procedures for future developments. Drawing on a range of sources, this paper builds on that burgeoning knowledge by setting the development of GPs with special interests in a broader policy context, highlighting the implications for the way that healthcare services are organised and delivered, and discussing their actual and potential impact of professional roles and practice.

Articles from The British Journal of General Practice are provided here courtesy of Royal College of General Practitioners