College programme will be acceptable to clinicians

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7001.393b (Published 05 August 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:393
  1. Peter Toghill
  1. Director of continuing medical education Royal College of Physicians, London NW1 4LE

    EDITOR,--T M Hayes has an unnecessarily pessimistic view of continuing medical education.1 I agree that continuing education has been with us for as long as there has been a medical profession; what is new is that doctors are finding increasing difficulty in keeping up to date with the prodigious growth of knowledge while working within the straitjacket of a health service.

    The programme currently being launched by the medical royal colleges is designed to ensure that all career grade physicians have both the time and the opportunities for learning to maintain and improve their competence. The main obstacle to doctors keeping up to date is scarcity of time. The colleges are committed to the provision of protected time for education and to full use of study leave. Much medical education is already provided at a local level, and in addition to this many of the specialist societies run successful postgraduate activities around Britain.

    In formalising continuing medical education we have aimed at creating a simple, easily documented, and realistic system that will nevertheless be sufficiently robust to withstand scrutiny, As well as providing doctors with a record of their own professional development the programme should yield valuable information on the strengths and weaknesses of medical education throughout Britain.

    The style of continuing medical education that we envisage at this college is far removed from that which Hayes fears. We hope that it will be flexible, self developed, and acceptable to doctors.


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