The Results of Six Years Postgraduate Vocational Training for Primary Medical Care in Germany – Part 1
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Background: On the background of the imminent shortage of family physicians in Germany, this multicenter longitudinal cohort study of medical graduates of the class of 2009 looks to their long-term career plans after six years of postgraduate training. The focus is on their attitudes towards family medicine and working as a family physicians.Methods: Standardized annual postal surveys for all graduates of the class of 2009 of seven German medical faculties. Return rates were 48 % in the first year and above 85 % in all the years after. The analyses are based on descriptive statistics.Results: Six years after the initial survey, the percentage preferring to work in primary care after postgraduate training amounted to 15 % of all residents. This increase is mainly due to greater attractiveness of family medicine among female physicians. For primary care, we observed a gender specific segregation. Three quarters of the interested subsample need more than six years to complete their training, which is already one year more than the prescribed minimum of five years. Furthermore, lateral entries and exits are more frequent than continuous training in postgraduate training for family medicine.Conclusions: The results underline the prospective lack of family physicians in Germany in the future. The professional pattern in family medicine will change substantially when family medicine becomes the domain of female physicians. Based on this perspective postgraduate education should become more effective and shorter, if primary care is to be secured for the future.