Medical education reforms could damage patient safety, says RCGP

The DoH's proposals to reform medical training are an 'unjustified revolution' which could compromise patient safety, the RCGP has warned.

Concerns over medical training reforms
Concerns over medical training reforms

In its response to the DoH’s consultation on the future of the medical workforce, the RCGP said it has ‘very serious concerns’ about the proposals, which include plans to transfer deanery functions to networks of local providers.

It echoes similar concerns raised by the GPC, who warned the plans are a 'recipe for chaos and disaster in medical education'.

The RCGP said the ‘provider skills networks’, which are planned to take over deanery functions, will be ‘unwieldy and unco-ordinated’.

It said the networks could be dominated by foundation trusts and will lead to variations in medical education and training across the country.

‘This may result in differential opportunities for trainees, differential success in exams and, ultimately, differential outcomes for patients,’ it said.

The RCGP also raised concerns about the pace of the proposed changes, warning that the provider skills networks will not be organised in time to fulfil their functions.

The RCGP said that it supports the drive to improve quality and efficiency in medical education, but said the reforms should be evidence-based and tested for unintended consequences.

‘We are seriously concerned that there could be profoundly harmful implications for education and training in primary care', said the report.

‘We would urge a very careful and detailed reconsideration before turning inside-out a system that currently functions broadly well.’

It said more cost-effective improvements could be made through a ‘more nuanced approach’ that tackles specific difficulties in the current system.

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