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Reviews Personal views

Assessment of doctors in training: should patients give consent?

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 16 February 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:431
  1. P G Lawler, medical director (
  1. Iodem Health, Darlington

    In the past, long hours and many years spent as junior doctors resulted in consultants who, at appointment, had considerable skill and experience. The volume and variety of experience ensured that there were no gaps.

    Over the past decade, however, the need to align UK specialist training programmes with those in Europe, now coupled with the exigencies of the Working Time Directive, has resulted in a quantum change in the time available for training doctors to the UK consultant standard. Postgraduate training programmes have had to be revitalised to deliver a similar consultant “product.” Shortened specialist training programmes, devised by the royal colleges, faculties, and other bodies, such as the Resuscitation Council, now aim to accelerate the development of trainees' skills but in a structured and supervised manner, with an analysis of their training record to expose gaps.

    The educational contract should now be …

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