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GMC recommends measures to help medical trainees switch specialities

Medical training in the UK ‘needs radical overhaul’ to become more flexible for trainees, a report from the GMC has recommended.

Among ‘rigidity’ in the current system, the GMC pointed to barriers for switching to GP training from other specialties or training abroad without going back to square one.

The GMC, which has overseen postgraduate training since 2010, said that to facilitate easier switching between specialties, it will ‘require training to focus more on the generic professional capabilities common to all doctors’.

It is recommending that in future related specialties curricula begin to ‘share common outcomes and elements’ and says it will ‘work with others to promote mechanisms which already exist to help trainees change training programmes’

The regulator said this includes the existing but not often used Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ Accreditation of Transferable Competences Framework.

‘Medical specialties will be asked to work together to identify aspects of their training that are common across related areas of practice, enabling doctors to switch specialties more easily,’ the GMC said.

The report also acknowledged that the GMC’s regulation is a hindrance to changes to medical education programmes, pledging to ‘reduce the burden of its approval system so that medical colleges and faculties can make changes to postgraduate curricula more quickly’.

GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said: ‘The way that medical training has developed in the last 30 years has contributed to the low morale that doctors in training continue to experience.

‘The actions that we set out in our report can make a meaningful difference to the professional lives of doctors and the choices they make about their careers. But ultimately it is patients who will benefit the most from these changes.’

He added that the GMC will ‘need all bodies involved in the delivery of UK medical education to work with us and be as determined as we are to deliver this ambitious vision’.

‘If postgraduate training in the UK looks the same in five years’ time, then we will have failed trainees and we will have failed patients,’ he said.

The report comes as analays by Pulse revealed that only 100 GPs have been added to the workforce as a result of the Govenrment’s £500m rescue package.

At the same time, official data showed the overall number of FTE GPs decreased by over 400 in the last three months of 2016.

The Government has pledged that there will be 5,000 more GPs in the workforce by 2020, compared to 2015.