The current government review of medical education and training offers an opportunity to focus training on patients say the Royal College of Surgeons [RCS] in their consultation response to Liberating the NHS: Developing the Healthcare Workforce.
Among the key points raised are:
- The RCS supports establishment of Health Education England [HEE]: the proposal to move from ‘Medical Education England’ [MEE] - which governed training for doctors, dentists and pharmacists - to HEE so that training for ALL healthcare workers is managed by the same body is supported by the College.
- Multi-disciplinary organisation of training: current organisation of separating training around specialties and type of healthcare professional fails to reflect that patients get the best outcomes when teams of healthcare workers support each other and share skills. The RCS proposes that organisation should instead be based around common interest areas. In surgery this would mean professionals like surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and operating department practitioners being managed by the same training programme.
- Medical Royal Colleges should provide professional aspects of training: as the plans currently stand with NHS Trusts solely responsible for training via ‘local skills networks’ there is a conflict of interest with them quality assuring themselves and a risk of increased divergence in training programmes. The RCS believe that the professional elements of training (selection, rotation, assessment of trainees and quality assurance of posts) should be dealt with by professional bodies. The Royal College of Surgeons is willing and able to take on these responsibilities for surgery.
- Continuing Professional Development [CPD] for consultants must retain budget: Currently medical CPD is managed by MEE and a significant sum is invested annually. In the reforms this responsibility will be given to employers but with no oversight be HEE or measures to protect the budget. The RCS believes that such a significant area must retain a recognised budget along with oversight by HEE on how it is spent so that it does it is not get threatened because of pressures on hospital budgets.
Professor John Stanley, Vice-President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said:
“The principles of the government plans for reforming medical education are fully supported by the Royal College of Surgeons and provide a great opportunity to refocus training on safe delivery of patient care. Currently the focus on individual disciplines is too inward looking and the reality of medicine is that patients get the best results when teams of healthcare workers are strong, with mutual understanding and respect for one another’s roles. If the new system is to have confidence and consistency across the country then independent quality assurance is vital and medical royal colleges are perfectly placed to deliver this.”
Notes to Editors
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