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Views on government’s Shape of Training Review

Doctors’ organisations have welcomed some of the Shape of Training Review’s recommendations, such as more flexible training and improved careers advice for medical students, but have voiced concerns about the proposals to shorten training for each specialty and to move the point of GMC registration.

The Royal College of Physicians

“As many physicians train for both a medical specialty and in the more general medical skills they need to diagnose, manage and treat patients with a wide variety of medical conditions, shortening the time they take to complete both kinds of training would compromise both quality of patient care and patient safety.”


“It is perfectly feasible for a well-trained doctor to be simultaneously a good generalist and specialist. The early years of training could be improved to provide doctors with a more general grounding in their specialty. This does not mean that length of training can be shortened without compromising the quality of specialty training. Producing such a doctor takes time and experience. Replacing parts of specialty training programmes with generalist content will have a negative impact on the provision of specialist care to patients.”

On moving the point of GMC registration: “Unless the length of medical school programmes were extended this would result in the cramming of training and clinical experience currently provided by the F1 year into the undergraduate curriculum.  The BMA is not convinced it is possible to produce doctors who are fit to practise under these conditions.”

Royal College of Surgeons Council Member, Mr Ian Eardley

“Plans to alter medical training are necessary to meet the changing needs of patients as the population ages. Training needs to give doctors the competencies and experience they need to deliver high quality care and should not be determined solely by time served. Plans need to look at the over-reliance on trainees in delivering the service, particularly at night, where training opportunities are limited. A one-size fits all approach will not work for all medical training – medical specialities should be able to tailor the way they implement the review’s recommendations.”

Dr Tom Dolphin, BMA Junior Doctors Committee contract negotiator and a member of the review’s Expert Advisory Group

“This is an egregious assault at the heart of medical standards; we cannot allow it to proceed. This is about the timing of the end point of training. It very clearly proposes a sub-consultant grade, awarding a CST sooner, and with a lower standard, than is done so at present.”

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