Postgraduate medical education and training in the UK

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f7604 (Published 23 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7604
  1. John Tooke, vice provost (health)
  1. 1University College London, London W1T 7NF, UK
  1. j.tooke{at}ucl.ac.uk

Time for action

As David Greenaway’s report on the future shape of postgraduate medical education and training makes clear,1 this is the sixth report in the United Kingdom in as many years in the wake of the failings in Modernising Medical Careers.2 All reports start from the premise that changes to the current system will be necessary to meet evolving healthcare needs. Our reluctance to adopt changes that have a broad consensus reflects at worst vested self interest in the status quo and at best an innate professional conservatism and a desire to sustain those attributes of a doctor that have served medicine well in the past.

However, reluctance to change also reflects the inherent uncertainty in predicting the future and the length of time before the outcome of profound change is evident. The fundamental problem is how we can provide rigorous, quality assured education that equips doctors with the desired range of capabilities to meet current healthcare needs without having to redesign the system every few years. The report makes it clear that “broad based beginnings” and flexibility are key to avoiding the snakes and ladders of returning to basic training if …

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