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GMC’s supposedly independent training review included secret meetings with politicians

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 07 May 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2400
  1. Benjamin J F Dean, research fellow and orthopaedic registrar, musculoskeletal sciences, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS), Botnar Research Centre, Institute of Musculoskeletal Sciences, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford OX3 7LD, UK
  1. bendean1979{at}

Benjamin J F Dean forced the UK regulator to disclose secret, non-minuted meetings held between the review’s chair and government and civil service officials

The General Medical Council (GMC) sponsored and provided administrative support for an “independent” review of UK postgraduate medical training named the Shape of Training review, which formally began in 2012. The review’s steering group—including representatives of the four UK health departments, as well as Health Education England, National Education for Scotland, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the GMC, the Medical Schools Council, and the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans—appointed David Greenaway, professor of economics at the University of Nottingham, as its “independent chair.” Although the review has been repeatedly described as independent, it remains unclear exactly what it was supposed to be independent from.

In his final Shape of Training report, released in October 2013, Greenaway recommended shortening the training time for hospital consultants and bringing the point of full GMC registration forward, to the end of medical school.1 Several professional bodies, including the BMA and the Royal College of Physicians, and trainee groups including the Association of Surgeons in Training and the British Orthopaedic Trainees Association, have repeatedly voiced concerns about patient safety related to these recommendations. …

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