Your chance to help shape the future of medical education and training in the UK

Jamie Read is a doctor in training and GMC Associate who was a member of the expert advisory group that helped to develop new standards that the GMC is currently consulting on.

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The draft guidance also brings together the standards for undergraduate and postgraduate education.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.

Training years for Doctors.

“Medical education is a continuum from medical school through to consultant level.” The medical education pathway for doctors in training across the UK. Source GMC 2015

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.

Dr Jamie Read

Dr Jamie Read

Jamie Read is a doctor in training and GMC Associate who was a member of the expert advisory group that helped to develop new standards that the GMC is currently consulting on.

One response to “Your chance to help shape the future of medical education and training in the UK

  1. Jamie, thank you for your blog and discussion around the new proposed “Standards for medical education and training”. As you know in The Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education Research & Assessment (CAMERA) at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, we have been interested for some time in the artificial divides between the three ‘stages’ of the one continuum: undergraduate; postgraduate; and continuing professional development. These artificial divides have created different lexicons for often the same people doing essentially the same job. Any policy initiative that might help to bring those involved in medical education better together will be welcomed. It’s important to get this right for all stakeholders. Doctors need a more transparent continuum, as you say which after all represents their working lives. Organisations need to work better together – as why do we have clinical staff as educational supervisors to postgraduate trainees and at the same time tutors to medical students with different training and support networks allied to each role when the underlying principles are the same?
    The continuum is important for academics to. There is a danger that educational research takes place in one setting and we lack insight to see its relevance across the continuum. I often use the car manufacturing industry as an analogue. We need medical schools full of people who know how to drive cars. It would be odd if we didn’t. Not exclusively, sure, but enough to ensure that the factory product is practical and safe for the challenges of the rest of the journey. We also need those doing the MOTs to feedback to factories when patterns of errors emerge so that things can be put right before the car ever hits the road. There are times when cars go so wrong that they need to go back to the factory and not the garage. But how often do we, in medicine, ever see that happening?
    Essentially we need a joined up approach that sees doctors on a continuum of life long and long life learning. Breaking down walls by unifying language in policy is a positive start.

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