Future shape of training is emerging

The major independent review of the shape of postgraduate training, led by Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, is now approaching its final stage. 

More than 400 individuals and organisations responded to the call for written evidence, and the review team has run workshops, seminars and site visits across the UK to gather the views of people involved in medical education and training. This evidence draws together issues and options that have come out of the review so far. It has provided a starting point for discussions in the oral evidence sessions that are taking place now.

Several key themes have emerged, although it is important to stress that the views gathered at this stage will not necessarily reflect the final direction of the review.

Training needs to respond to the changing profile and needs of patients

  • The UK’s population is ageing, and there are more people with comorbidities and with lifestyle-related diseases.
  • How patients interact with their doctors is also likely to change as, for example, contact via email and telemedicine becomes more common.

The training structure needs to be more flexible

  • Doctors need to be able to transfer their learning and experience between specialties as their careers change and develop and as the needs of patients change.
  • The curricula should also have much more focus on generic capabilities, such as leadership and management.
  • There is strong support for doctors initially to receive a broad training in specialty areas. It has been suggested that this would help doctors work effectively in multi-professional teams and treat patients in both primary and secondary care settings. They might then undertake further development in special interest and subspecialty areas as the needs of patients and the service demands. 

Balancing training needs with service demands

  • There is considerable support for doctors in training doing longer placements, with better integration in teams and a more apprenticeship-like approach. This could help to balance the competing pressures of service provision and training better.

What happens next?

The themes from the evidence will inform how the structure of postgraduate medical education and training needs to change, and possible ways that this might be approached. David Greenaway will report on the findings and recommendations in the autumn.

Find out more

Find updates on the evidence gathered and more about the background to the review on the Shape of Training website.