Commenting upon the General Medical Council’s report ‘Adapting for the future’, Professor Derek Bell, President, and Dr Katherine Walesby, Chair of the Trainees and Members’ Committee, of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:

“The recognition by the General Medical Council that training is in need of reform is welcome. This issue was brought into sharp focus by the dispute last year regarding the junior doctors’ contract.

“Individual medical specialties require specific skills and this must continue to ensure safe patient care. However, we also acknowledge that post-graduate medical training needs to become more flexible overall so it is best able to adapt to the changing needs of the population as well as, importantly, allow trainees flexibility in their working lives.

“The framework to recognise the equivalent training that exists between specialties will help in this regard and trainees will welcome more clarity on changing specialty and what additional training will be required of them.  We also hope to hear more details about recognising training abroad when a trainee returns to the UK.  This is something important raised by our trainees. 

“We support the opportunity for increasing alternative routes for trainees to reach the completion of their training, including the Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) route.  However, we recognise that there need to be system changes so that CESRs can be processed in a timely fashion by the GMC to ensure this is a meaningful route.

“We would like to see further detail on the model for credentials, and measures must be taken to ensure that it is not misused and does not increase the cost of training.

“Many trainees train across all four nations of the UK throughout their career so it is essential to have continuity across the UK.  We also hope that trainees who are originally from outside the UK, but work and train in the UK, continue to be recognised for their important and valuable contributions to the NHS and flexibility for them is included in any future plans. 

“This College looks forward to working with the GMC to bring these proposals forward.  A more efficient and flexible system of training will benefit trainees as they progress throughout their career and, ultimately, lead to better and safer patient care.”


  1. The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh aims to improve the quality of patient care. It represents over 12,000 Fellows and Members across the UK and worldwide, setting standards and influencing health policy. The College helps physicians and related specialties pursue their careers  through a world-renowned education and training programme.
  2. The GMC report ‘Adapting for the future: a plan for improving the flexibility of UK postgraduate medical training’ is published today.


Contact: Lisa Rooke - 07717 895628 /