Academic Clinical Fellowships

We have strong links to Oxford’s highly active Department of primary care and two trainees each year are invited to take up academic clinical fellowships. These are NIHR funded placements in association with the Deanery and involve an extended training programme of 4 years.

During this time the GPSTR will be expected to spend 45% of their programme working on research or educational projects with the Department of Primary Care. There is some information for ACF trainees on their website.

Each ACF will have a research supervisor, according to their area of research interest. However the academic component of all of the ACFs programme will be overseen by Dr Kay Wang,  who will liaise with the GP PD team.

ACFs are usually offered the opportunity to start their GP training with a six- month GP placement, during which time they will have a day release to the academic department on Tuesdays. If they choose to undertake their six-month GP placement later in ST1 or ST2 this will still incorporate a Tuesday attachment to the Department of Primary Care.

During their ST3 year the GPStR will spend a greater proportion of time in research.

Overall the training programme looks like this:

  • ST1 and ST2 hospital posts: 100% clinical training *
  • ST1 and ST2 GP posts: 4 days in practice, 1 day per week at Dept of Primary Care *
  • ST3: 2 days in practice, 2 days at Dept of Primary Care, 1 day at day release teaching programme
  • ST4: 2 days in practice, 3 days at Dept of Primary Care
  • *both have ½ day per fortnight GP teaching

Arrangements for LTFT trainees will be made on a case by case basis.


Quote / Testimonial:

“Ever wondered if there was more to GP training out there? The answer is YES! The Oxford VTS offers an Academic Clinical Fellowship scheme to selected GP trainees. I highly recommend this fantastic opportunity for an insight into academic general practice and research training- I loved it!

I spent 50% of my ST3 and ST4 years in the Department of Primary Health Care Sciences, and the other 50% in clinical practice as a GP registrar. It was a fantastic opportunity to gain experience and insight into a range of different areas of academic practice, and learn from highly skilled and experienced colleagues. The academic post also allowed me to complete a Diploma in Health Research at the University Department of Continuing Education which provided excellent foundation skills in research methodology.

Despite limited prior exposure to primary care research and a steep learning curve, I found the ACF post hugely rewarding and I subsequently hope to progress to doctoral training. I’m currently working towards a proposal for this. Since finishing my Academic General Practice Registrar training I have worked as a locum GP, clinical researcher, and have volunteered in Sierra Leone with Voluntary Services Overseas.”

Claire Blacklock
Quote / Testimonial:

“Becoming an ACF is like training in two careers: one as a GP and the other as an academic. For that reason the specialist training is extended by a year. The expense of an extra year is returned through the opportunity to develop skills in research and teaching in the field of academic general practice through links with The Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford.

I got the opportunity to get a feel for being an ACF during my 6 month GP rotation as an ST1 spending a half day alternative weeks in The Department. Here I talked to other academic GPs, teachers and researchers about interesting projects going on and how they can be used to improve patient care. However it wasn’t until my ST3 and ST4 years when I got a real sense of being an academic GP, spending 50% of my time seeing patients and 50% of my time finding answers to everyday clinical questions through research.

The NIHR ACF posts come with funding to have Masters level training in health research and there is opportunities to complete a number of modules including topics such as Applying Evidence Based Medicine, Understanding Diagnostics Test, Randomised Controlled Trials and several others.

I also became more involved in teaching through the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM) I completed a Teaching Evidence Based Medicine module, funded through the ACF programme, and later found myself facilitating and then teaching on future modules. I am also involved in undergraduate teaching as well. I recently ran the first CEBM workshop in Lithuania.

My research has led to Cochrane and other systematic reviews, running a randomised controlled trial, collaborative work with other teams locally and Nationally and successful funding awards. I was most proud to see a at least 2 pieces of my research making its way into NICE guidance, RCGP Essential Knowledge Updates and National Commissioning boards. There is also opportunities to disseminate your research findings nationally and internationally by attending conferences.

The ACF programme in general practice is designed for someone who wants to train as a GP but also wants to understand more about how and why we manage disease in primary care, identify and answer the gaps in our knowledge then share that knowledge with others.”

Kamal Mahtani