Joint statement on education and training

Ambitious plans to develop, revise and adapt education and training for medical students and doctors have today (Wednesday 13 March) been welcomed by the three UK Royal Colleges of Physicians, including the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. The plans can be read here

The GMC has regulatory responsibility for overseeing all stages of education and training for doctors, ensuring high standards continue to be met. It set out its vision for the future of medical training and education following initial discussions with the Colleges and other organisations which provide education and training.

The major programme of work unveiled by the General Medical Council (GMC) aims to build a bigger, more diverse and better supported multidisciplinary educator workforce, and respond to the expected growth in undergraduate medical school places. This will include supporting innovation in delivery methods and length of study while maintaining current standards.

The GMC programme also aims to support career development and lifelong learning. 

Professor Andrew Elder, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:

After direct patient care, the most important role of the doctor is to teach and train those who will follow them. We must ensure that all doctors, and consultants in particular, have the time in their job plans to deliver teaching and training.

It is the clear responsibility of the NHS - as our primary employers - to ensure that this happens, and it is the responsibility of the statutory education bodies to monitor the effective delivery of teaching and training. The Federation of UK Royal Colleges of Physicians will play its role, through curriculum and assessment design and delivery, but others must also play their parts if the GMC’s vision is to be fully realised.

The GMC will now initiate a four UK-country stakeholder group to advise and support them in making transformational change. The Federation will continue to engage to make our members’ voices heard and support innovation.

Mike McKirdy, President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, said:

In today’s rapidly-changing world, with an ageing population and patients with increasingly complex health needs, it is vital that doctors are prepared with the education and training they need.

We are pleased to see the GMC setting out a vision for the future that is inclusive and flexible, while recognising the need for engagement with Royal Colleges, medical schools, statutory education bodies and employers.

Real change and innovation can only come from a concerted effort from all organisations in the healthcare system.  As the UK’s three Royal Colleges of Physicians, we look forward to working together with the GMC on the details of the programme to support training across the medical specialties.

Dr Sarah Clarke, President of the Royal College of Physicians, said:

The three UK Royal Colleges of Physicians have strongly supported the ambition to train more doctors in every part of the UK. To achieve this, we need to build a pipeline of educators, supervisors, mentors and trainers – with protected time - to support doctors throughout their careers. We have long campaigned for a doubling of medical school places and commensurate postgraduate training places. 

We are pleased to see the GMC acknowledges the need for flexibility and innovation in the delivery of education and training, so long as high standards continue to be met.



GMC's vision for the future of medical education and training: