United Kingdom
New Junior Doctor Training Curriculum Launched
Apr 5, 2005 - 1:40:00 PM

A groundbreaking change in postgraduate medical training begins today with the publication of a new curriculum for junior doctors, part of the Modernising Medical Careers programme.

Under the new curriculum trainee doctors will have to demonstrate they are competent in a number of areas including communication and consultation skills, patient safety and team working as well as the more traditional elements of medical training.

Features of the Foundation Programme Curriculum include:

* The framework for a structured two-year training programme which will give trainees exposure to a range of career placements across a broad spectrum of specialties including accident & emergency, obstetrics & gynaecology and anaesthetics. The programme aims to give each trainee the opportunity to have experience in primary care and provide opportunities for experience in smaller specialties and academic medicine, not normally available at this stage of training
* Explicit standards of assessment and structure supervision for trainees, where an educational supervisor will oversee each trainee and each post will benefit from a dedicated clinical supervisor
* The requirement for trainee doctors to learn a range of skills including communication, the undertaking and use of research, time management and use of evidence and data. Each of these skills will be assessed through an agreed method prior to completion of the programme.

Chief Medical Officer for England Sir Liam Donaldson said “The Foundation Programme curriculum marks a new era in UK medicine. For the first time, doctors will have the opportunity to explore a range of career options, while ensuring that their acute clinical and professional skills are secure and robust.

“This is very much a ‘curriculum for patient safety’, ensuring that at the end of their two years of training doctors are both confident and competent and we are delighted that the UK is leading the world in innovations in medical education.”

Health Minister John Hutton said:

“The new two-year Foundation Programme will allow students a broader range of ‘tasters’ in areas of medicine they have not had access to before.

“We are moving to a situation where 80 per cent of patient care will be provided in primary care environments so we want more trainees to spend time in places like GP surgeries and Walk-in Centres as the shift towards treatment in primary care settings rather than hospitals becomes the norm.”

Dr E M Armstrong, Chief Medical Officer of Scotland said:“The aim of the Modernising Medical Careers programme is to ensure that patients are seen and treated by trained doctors rather than, as at present, by doctors in training. To achieve this our young medical graduates need to acquire the requisite skills and competences to achieve specialist accreditation over a shorter period than has been the case in the past. The Curriculum for the Foundation Years in Postgraduate Education and Training is a key building block in this new process and I very much welcome its launch today.

Chief Medical Officer to the Welsh Assembly Government Dr Ruth Hall said: “Graduates will have the opportunity to gain understanding of the whole range of NHS medical practice in their series of six four month attachments. This will strengthen the sort of NHS professional team working that we all wish to promote. It has been long recognised in educational circles that a second introductory year for doctors was required. In introducing this now we are delighted to say that the UK is at the forefront of worldwide educational practice. The new Foundation Programme ensures that doctors receive a structured training programme, regular assessments and good careers advice.”

Chairman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Professor Sir Alan Craft said: “The curriculum is an important piece of work. It heralds a new era in medical training and education in the UK. As healthcare changes, the Foundation Programme curriculum will ensure that doctors going through the system are fit for the modern healthcare service.”

F2 pilot Dr Kate Grisaffi said: “My experience of the Foundation Programme has been very positive. I chose to do it because it gave me the opportunity to experience a wide range of specialties. The best thing about this being part of this pilot was developing the generic skills essential for all doctors – good acute care skills, communication and teamworking skills.”

The curriculum, officially unveiled by the Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) programme on 4 April, follows on from publication earlier this year of the General Medical Council’s The New Doctor 2005. The key principles in The New Doctor 2005 have been used to shape the new MMC Foundation Programme curriculum, which is due to take its first influx of trainees this August.

Until 2007, Foundation Year 1 (F1) trainees will continue to undertake a year in PRHO-approved training placements, including at least three months in both medicine and surgery. As part of the ongoing development of F1, increasing focus will be placed on assessing core competencies gained along the training pathway.

A number of assessment tools are being piloted with over 1,750 trainees across the UK in order to develop a robust, validated process for proving a trainee’s competence ahead of full General Medical Council (GMC) registration and progression into the second year of foundation (F2).

The foundation curriculum will ensure that trainees move seamlessly from F1 into F2 following assessment and subsequent GMC registration.

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