HDR philosophy


All our trainees (i.e. GP and hospital based) ARE EXPECTED TO ATTEND for the whole afternoon at least 80% of the time. We have asked the consultants to release those in hospital posts as this is a compulsory part of your training ….and remember to sign the register!

The half day release programme is planned and produced by the programme directors together with the trainees on the scheme. This may take a few weeks to prepare, but there will always be a tentative plan in place until then. This timetable can be found by logging into GoogleDrive. Please incorporate both the early and definitive plans into your diary, electronic organiser, mobile phone or whatever system you use to keep your work organised so you are ready for any sessions which need advance preparation.


In most sessions, some time is spent working in three small groups, each facilitated by either a Programme Director, Trainer, Intending Trainer, or a combination thereof. Working in small groups is the most important aspect of the Half Day Release course, because it encourages the following (and more!):

These are skills for your lifelong learning, and for life in general practice; they are also skills assessed by some of the components of MRCGP. We hope the groups will create a safe space in which difficult or uncomfortable issues can be discussed in confidence. It is always okay for the group to decide to change the agenda and deal with an urgent problem raised by a member.



There are three types of session frequently used in the Half Day Release course:

  1. Structured Sessions (sometimes using an external resource) in which we aim to explore important areas of General Practice ‘beyond the textbooks’, which you may otherwise not meet in everyday practice, nor cover in topic based tutorials.
  2. Presentations which involve subgroups of 6-8 people who explore a topic/theme by looking at the literature, visiting community based projects or NHS services, contacting local experts etc. They then give a presentation to the whole group. By doing these sessions you develop presentation skills as well as exploring subjects in new ways and in depth whilst doing your preparation.
  3.  Open Group Work sessions including case discussions (which may include video), ‘hot topics’ and Problem-Based Learning (PBL). PBL sessions – these small group sessions involve the exploration of a case scenario, with each stage raising different issues for discussion. Group members choose aspects to go away and research, and bring their findings back the following week. These types of sessions will certainly help you when it comes to doing the MRCGP case based discussions.Click on the “Open Group Sessions” button in the left hand menu to find out more.


The Training Programme Directors welcome feedback at any stage, in person or by e-mail. As well as contributing to the formal evaluation sessions, it is very helpful if, at the end of each small group session, you leave five minutes for evaluation. Please give this some genuine thought so that we can enhance the future development of the course. If you feel something was good or bad, please tell us specifically what made it that way. We want to maintain models of good practice and change those that don’t.