A primary care trust in Kent is rolling out a training scheme that gives trainee GPs first hand experience of commissioning.

NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent, in collaboration with the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Deanery, set up a pilot 12 months ago. So far 12 GP trainees have been placed for a four month block with the PCT and a GP practice, spending two days a week working on commissioning projects.

This month, the number of GPs entering the scheme will double and it will be extended to neighbouring PCT NHS West Kent.

PCT director of workforce and organisational development Hazel Carpenter said it had also approached the strategic health authority, NHS South East Coast, about rolling the scheme out across the rest of the county.

She said the scheme, which the PCT believes unique, was originally established to make the area more attractive to GPs and “create a pipeline of medical talent into management”.

She said the white paper’s proposed abolition of PCTs from 2013 had added importance.

She said: “In the new landscape of GP consortia, we will have a whole cohort of GPs that do not just have a clinical perspective but have a whole public health economy perspective.”

The trainees attend board meetings and undertake a commissioning project. One such project led to the successful setting up of a headache clinic.

Ms Carpenter said: “They’ve been looking at real gutsy stuff around money.”

She said the trainees had developed a much better understanding of public health and finance, while the PCT had gained clinical input.