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Scottish Medical Education reforms gather pace


Reforming medical training for Scotland’s trainee doctors is well under way, with significant progress being made in addressing the recommendations in the UK Shape of Training Report.

Speaking at this week’s Shape of Training seminar in Edinburgh, NHS Education for Scotland Medical Director Professor Stewart Irvine said:

"Education and training are the foundations of high quality and safe patient care for the next 30 years. While Scotland has an excellent record on medical training, we need to continually evolve and improve - to meet the changing needs of the population, the increasing demands faced by the health and service and to support new approaches to the delivery of care.

“Above all medical education and training must meet the needs of patients, and increasingly must meet these needs in the communities where they live.”

Since the Report, we have been working with our partners to deliver:

• Improving surgical training: Scotland has opted to extend this programme from being solely confined to General Surgery training, to encompass all early years training in surgical specialties, so that all trainees can benefit from the increased support offered by this pilot project. There are 49 Core Surgical Training posts advertised this year in Scotland, over half of the UK total.

• Improving medical training: In December 2017, a new Internal Medicine stage 1 curriculum was approved by the GMC. We have outlined how we will deliver a new model for physician training, and are working on building new 3 year rotations which will start in 2019.

• More flexible approaches to training to better meet the needs and career aspirations of doctors as well as the needs of patients and the service. We now have an established UK framework to evaluate each new aspect of a training curriculum to ensure that it meets these principles and will make it easier for doctors in training to transfer between specialties. The development of credentials will further support flexible approaches to training that meet Scotland’s needs.

The Shape of Training report highlighted: patient needs drive how we must train doctors in the future, the tension between service and training, the need to change the balance between specialists and generalists, the need to take a broader approach to postgraduate training, and the need for more flexibility in training. The Report is available here.

Professor Stewart Irvine