Intended for healthcare professionals


Editor’s Choice: Making a long journey shorter

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 01 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1194
  1. Tom Moberly, editor
  1. BMJ Careers
  1. tmoberly{at}

Training in oral and maxillofacial surgery involves a time and financial commitment above and beyond that required in other specialties. But the attraction of working across two fields of healthcare has meant that the specialty has, until now, not had to worry about filling its training posts. Last year there were more than five applicants for every training place available in the specialty.

But rising undergraduate fees and living costs, and changes to doctors’ pay and pensions, are reducing medical students’ and doctors’ confidence in their financial security. This has led to fears that fewer doctors will want to start the long journey to a certificate of completion of training (CCT) in the specialty.

At the same time, rising diagnoses of head and neck cancer are placing additional demands on the specialty. A drop off in the numbers of oral and maxillofacial surgeons completing training would not be good news for patients.

This week Peter Brennan and colleagues look at the potential options for reducing the time it takes to complete training in oral and maxillofacial surgery One option currently being explored would be for trainees to study for a second degree as part of their postgraduate training.

Brennan and colleagues argue that oral and maxillofacial surgery faces a critical time over the coming decade and that the medical profession as a whole needs to engage with these potential solutions. “If the profession does not tackle these training issues the burden of care will fall on other specialists who will not have the necessary training,” they say.


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