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Patel Report Set to Reform Medical Education

Lord Patel has published a draft report setting out 27 recommendations and has welcomed doctors, employees and patients to share their views.

This major review was commissioned by the General Medical Council and the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board. The review itself examines the entire career of a doctor, from the first day at medical school to the last day in practice.

Its recommendations address the different stages of education and training (undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing practice) and the links between them, as well as the handling of medical graduates from other countries. The recommendations have implications not only for doctors and those involved in their training, but also for patients and for healthcare organisations throughout the UK.

In April 2010, when the functions of PMET B are transferred to the GMC, they will become responsible for the regulation of the entire spectrum of medical education in the UK – the first time a single organisation has been charged with overseeing all stages of a doctor’s career. This provides an opportunity for the GMC to take a long-term look at the future regulation of medical education and training as a whole and to consider how this fits in with its other responsibilities for registration, setting and maintaining standards, and ensuring fitness to practise.

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC commented:

“We have a great opportunity now to create a system in which every stage of education and training is fit for purpose, successfully prepares the doctor for the next one, where standards are constantly rising and which treats all doctors fairly, wherever they come from and whatever stage they are at in their careers. I hope the consultation stimulates debate and encourages as many as possible to comment on the conclusions and recommendations of the draft report. This will help us set the way ahead and ensure a robust approach to the regulation of education and training in the years to come.”

One of the main concerns relates to the GMC having to accept European Economic Area (EEA) doctors, with no standing to test their skill or language capabilities before admitting the onto the medical register. It is recognised that there is a significant variation in the standard of medical training in different EEA countries. This has become more significant following the death of a several patients following treatment provided by locum foreign doctors. There is the additional issue of locum doctors being able to take locum consultant posts without having gained entry to the specialist register.

The consultation on the draft Patel report will run until 9 March 2010. Lord Patel is expected to deliver his final report to the GMC at the end of March. It will then be for the GMC to decide how it wishes to take forward the recommendations of the review.

If you wish to express a view on any of the proposals, visit the Community People website This opportunity will be open until 9 March.