For the first time there will be a single set of standards for organisations delivering medical education and training in the UK – from student right the way through to consultant. They will ensure that doctors become competent, confident and compassionate professionals when caring for patients.
The publication of the education and training draft standards [PDF] marks an exciting step in the future of medical education and training in the UK. I’ve been involved as part of the expert advisory group providing input into the standards and watching them develop and grow over recent months which has been a real privilege. The next step is one of the most important: getting feedback and input from those who will be affected by the implementation of new standards, something I understand first hand in my role as a trainee in geriatric medicine.
Learning environment and culture
One of the major changes relates to the culture and learning environment where trainees gain experience and develop their skills. Getting this right is vital to training doctors who provide the best care for patients, their families and carers. The standards identify how important learning in the right environment is to ensuring that the most is gained from education. They aim to give education providers much clearer guidance on the right environment for training to promote the best medical education possible.
The draft guidance also brings together the standards for undergraduate and postgraduate education. This is an important step and recognises that medical education is a continuum from medical school through to consultant level. Bringing the standards together also provides greater clarity for students, trainees, trainers and the public. They show how medical education is underpinned by the same key concepts at all levels, such as safe, compassionate care which values equality and diversity.
How the standards affect me
As a trainee, the new standards give me much more information about who is accountable for different areas of my training. The introduction of standards which are aimed at different organisations make what can be a complex and confusing system more transparent and allows me to take greater ownership of my training. Combining both undergraduate and postgraduate standards also helps me understand and appreciate how my training at all levels links in to providing the best care to patients.
As someone who is involved in the quality assurance of medical education through the General Medical Council, the new standards will also help me to ensure that trainees at all levels are given the most appropriate opportunities. Also, patients, the public and carers receive the best possible care through high quality education and training.
Most importantly, and perhaps often overlooked, is the role that good practice in education and training plays in the development of doctors. The development of the standards is an opportunity to promote good practice which in turn benefits trainees and their patients. A key part in such a development is the role that everyone can play in feeding into the consultation.
Responding to the consultation
Responding to the current consultation is a vital way of ensuring that your voice is heard and that the education of medical students and doctors is as good as it possibly can be. To share your views, visit the consultation site and tell us what you think.