By Gareth Iacobucci
Government plans to abolish SHA-based postgraduate deaneries may ‘compromise’ trainee doctors and lead to serious gaps in training being ignored, the GMC has warned.
The claims come as the GMC formulates its response to the Government’s workforce white paper consultation, which proposes to shift responsibility for education and workforce planning away from deaneries to new local ‘skills networks’.
These new networks will see GPs, local authorities, social care and public health providers holding and allocating funding for education and funding locally, taking on functions currently provided at regional deaneries.
The Government says this will make the system less ‘top-down’, but the GMC has joined the BMA in voicing its concern that they have the potential to damage the standard of doctors’ training.
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said trainee doctors’ education could be skewed by the immediate demands of local services, and that independent professional regulation was ‘conspicuous by its absence’ in the proposals.
‘We have to ensure trainees aren’t compromised in terms of learning and development because service requirements have to be met.’
‘We believe we need local education champions. We currently rely on the postgraduate deaneries to perform these functions. Under the current proposals, deaneries appear to be going.’
He added: ‘Simply handing this over to employers is not the answer. We need an independent voice that can provide us with assurance. You need someone independent who could say, it’s going wrong in this speciality, who will blow the whistle if something isn’t right.’
The GMC’s initial thoughts came ahead of its formal response to the consultation, which closes at 31 March 2011.
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson