Editorials

Continuing medical education across Europe

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c5214 (Published 24 September 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5214
  1. John Sandars, senior lecturer in community based education
  1. 1Leeds Institute of Medical Education (LIME), University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
  1. j.e.sandars{at}leeds.ac.uk

    Demonstrating cost effectiveness and impact on patient care may be difficult

    The vision of a competent medical workforce that can move across Europe to tackle shared health challenges is attractive to a variety of stakeholders. In the linked Analysis article (doi:10.1136/bmj.c4687), Horsley and colleagues argue for harmonisation of the current systems for maintaining professional competence and highlight the barriers that will have to be overcome.1 They recommend that the new system should show improved patient outcomes but acknowledge the uncertainty about how this can be achieved. These recommendations are a major challenge for continuing medical education (CME) in this new system, and all educational providers—from governments and professional bodies to drug companies and other commercial companies—will require a clear understanding of the notion of professional competence and evidence for the effectiveness of different educational approaches. In the current economic climate the cost effectiveness of these different approaches is also an important consideration.

    Maintaining competence for doctors requires more than regularly updating medical knowledge and clinical skills. All doctors are expected to act professionally and to display a range of behaviours and relationships underpinned by …

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