Doctors: Training

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 11th June 2019.

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Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne Conservative, Ludlow

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of embedding molecular biology, data literacy and human factors training into undergraduate and postgraduate medical curricula, as recommended by the Royal College of Surgeons’ Commission on the Future of Surgery.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Each individual medical school sets its own undergraduate medical curriculum. The delivery of the undergraduate curriculum has to meet the standards set by the General Medical Council (GMC), who then monitor and check to make sure that these standards are maintained. Curricula for medical training are designed to develop the skills and attributes required of doctors to deal effectively with whatever is presented to them.

The standards require the curriculum to be formed in a way that allows all medical students to meet the GMC’s Outcomes for Graduates by the time they complete their medical degree, which describe knowledge, skills and behaviour they have to show as newly registered doctors. The GMC updated the Outcomes for Graduates in 2018, following extensive engagement and consultation with medical education experts. The new version, which schools have to align their curricula to by 2020, includes principles and knowledge relating to molecular biology, describing human factors principles and practice and critical appraisal and analysis of clinical data.

The curricula for postgraduate specialty training is set by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges for foundation training, and by individual royal colleges and faculties for specialty training. The GMC approves curricula and assessment systems for each training programme.

The GMC, with input from Health Education England and the devolved administrations, is currently reviewing postgraduate curricula to ensure they reflect general professional capabilities and meet future patient and service needs. Generic professional capabilities are a high level framework of common generic outcomes and content across all postgraduate medical curricula, and this includes the requirement for doctors to demonstrate and apply basic Human Factors principles and practice at individual, team, organisational and system levels.

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