J Bowden, K Dempsey, K Boyd, M Fallon, SA Murray
Journal Issue: 
Volume 43: Issue 1: 2013



Objective: To establish whether Foundation Year 1 (FY1) doctors in Edinburgh are sufficiently  prepared to deliver generalist palliative care, with a view to informing developments in  undergraduate and postgraduate medical education.

Methods: Questionnaires were sent to FY1 doctors and to supervising consultants. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five FY1 doctors.

Results: A total of 60 FY1 doctors and 31 consultants replied. The majority of FY1 doctors did not feel well-prepared to deliver basic palliative care, especially when managing distress and social issues. Consultants agreed that FY1 doctors were underprepared. Junior doctors reported high levels of distress themselves, with few seeking support from senior colleagues. Both sets of respondents made suggestions for curricular improvements.

Conclusions: Newly qualified doctors were not adequately prepared to deliver generalist palliative care and lacked first-hand experience of end-of-life issues. Current reviews of palliative care education should address the learning and supportive needs of our most junior doctors more effectively.

Keywords Palliative care, undergraduate, education, teaching, learning

Declaration of Interests No conflict of interests declared.