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Medicine: Education

Health written question – answered on 24th November 2011.

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Photo of Heidi Alexander Heidi Alexander Labour, Lewisham East

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect on patient safety of levels of funding for postgraduate medical education during the comprehensive spending review period.

Photo of Anne Milton Anne Milton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Postgraduate medical education is funded through the Multi Professional Education and Training (MPET) budget issued to strategic health authorities (SHAs) as part of the annual national health service central budget bundle. It is for SHAs to determine the level of spending necessary to deliver the required outcomes for the various elements of training and development.

MPET is not ring-fenced. It is the responsibility of SHAs to invest the budget appropriately and determine the correct number of postgraduate medical trainees, in their area, for the work force needed to deliver services required by patients. The trainee doctors also contribute to service delivery.

The General Medical Council sets the standards for the delivery of postgraduate medical education and quality assures the delivery of training against those standards. Their recommendations are contained in “The Trainee Doctor” (2011). This includes recommendations on essential safeguards on any action by trainees that affects the safety and wellbeing of patients.

The Department has worked in collaboration with SHAs to develop a safety and quality assurance process to ensure that any significant change proposed in the size and shape of the clinical work force has involved clinicians at all levels, maximising on their engagement, leadership and sign off. Where NHS organisations are planning or experience changes to their work force, they will need to demonstrate that their systems, processes and governance arrangements are adequate to uphold the rights of patients covering quality and care of environment, as set out in “Liberating the NHS: Developing the healthcare workforce”.

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