Medical humanities: some uses and problems

The arts and humanities were allowed into the British medical curriculum in 1993 when the General Medical Council re-structured it in a paper entitled ‘Tomorrow’s Doctors’. Since then many medical schools have developed humanities modules and the broad term ‘medical humanities’ refers to these. They can contribute to medical education in at least three ways: as a supplement to what is already in the curriculum, especially for ethics and communication; as an outside critique of medical practice; and to personal and professional development.