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If doctors can train part time, why not medical students?

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 11 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4897
  1. Peter W Raven, faculty tutor, UCL Medical School, UCL Faculty of Medical Sciences, London WC1E 6BT, UK
  1. p.raven{at}

Part time degrees may better suit some of today’s medical undergraduates for several reasons, writes Peter W Raven, including finances and caring responsibilities

It is increasingly the case that changes in postgraduate medical training are drivers for change in the undergraduate curriculum.1 The shift in postgraduate medical training that followed the UK General Medical Council’s endorsement of less than full time (LTFT) training in October 2012 has yet to generate a response from medical schools.2 We have positively embraced the concept of part time training of junior doctors and yet the only way to study medicine is on a full time course. So should we be offering part time undergraduate courses in medicine?

Undergraduate medicine is a highly regulated programme of study but the GMC does not take a formal position on part time bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery (MBBS) degrees. It certainly has no rules against them: as long as students complete their 5500 hours of theoretical and practical training, an MBBS programme can be as short as a four year graduate entry programme or as long as the eight to 10 year MBPhD.

Universities are increasingly well equipped to deliver …

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