Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus


BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 09 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:S3-7215
  • Transcribing five different perspectives on continuing medical education for hospital doctors has produced a readable introduction for what must surely be one of the Standing Committee on Postgraduate Education's last reports. Perhaps most interesting is how a chief executive views CME for consultants: full of understanding of the problem, but less able to do anything about it without ringfenced resources. Her conservative estimate of £2 500 for each consultant adds up to a cool £300m calculated nationally, and she adds “I have 90 consultants but 2 500 other staff: being fair to them is also a major issue.”

    But it's not just money: among the exhortations for ideas to influence the effectiveness of strategic planning are some practical suggestions: new consultants should have a buddy (experienced consultant) to show them the ropes.There is also a qualitative study into doctors' attitudes to CME in three trusts. The researchers propose four categories of CME: elective, routine, informal contact with colleagues, and learning activity triggered by direct patient care. Many of the results amplify known factors about CME: that many doctors exceed suggested activity levels by a considerable margin, but also that many meetings are attended out of duty rather than for their primary educational value. Also of note is the fact that keeping logbooks and diaries up to date was a source of irritation to many. Overall, say the researchers, the CME milieu is currently one of “benign community neglect” that allows individuals and groups to flourish. SCOPME. Strategy for continuing education and professional development for hospital doctors and dentists. London: SCOPME, 1999.