Date Published: 1 August 2005

The Scottish Executive announces better training for Scottish doctors

The Scottish Executive has today (1st August 2005) announced a comprehensive overhaul of postgraduate medical training.

The new system, refered to as "Modernising Medical Careers" (MMC) is the most fundamental change to medical training in the UK for many years.

Under this system, two-year "Foundation Programmes" for all medical graduates will provide an educationally co-ordinated training programme focussing on the generic training all doctors require, irrespective of whatever specialty they subsequently undertake.
It has been announced that MMC will ensure that, in the future, there will be a stronger and more focussed educational infrastructure for doctors in training, enabling more effective use of time to deliver trained, fit for purpose doctors more quickly. Further, the MMC will deliver a medical workforce which is "more responsive to changing patient needs and ensures at all times the highest standards of patient care and clinical governance".

Health Minister Andy Kerr stated that this means more patients will be treated by fully trained doctors, rather than by doctors in training, he said:

"This is a major reform of postgraduate medical education, developed in partnership with the medical profession.
_Through this programme, we can develop a flexible workforce of doctors, competent at dealing with the acutely ill patients and effective at communicating with patients and colleagues alike.
_By creating efficient, high-quality, independently assured training programmes, we will protect patient safety and ensure the highest standard of training for all doctors in Scotland. MMC will also offer better career guidance at every stage of a doctor's development and will provide new opportunities for non-consultant career grade doctors.
_Combined with the fact that we have record staffing levels among doctors and most healthcare professions, all of this is part of our drive to get our NHS to work smarter, and in new ways.
_At the same time, we have the opportunity to reorganise the rest of the healthcare team to take on expanded roles on offer. Our related programme, Modernising Clinical Careers, will develop the roles of other healthcare professionals such as Nurses, Allied Healthcare Professionals and Healthcare Scientists

Dr Peter Terry, chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said:

"The BMA welcomes these much-needed reforms to medical training. The principles of streamlining training will undoubtedly deliver improvements for the NHS in Scotland.
_Under this new programme, junior doctors will spend a greater proportion of their time in training and gaining experience, rather than on service delivery. Therefore they are more likely to attain the competencies required to progress through their training more quickly than under the old system.
_By introducing attractive and innovative training packages, MMC could provide an opportunity to attract and retain doctors in Scotland and by developing flexible training and family friendly working patterns could remove some of the artificial barriers to medicine and widen access to the profession."

MMC has been developed across the UK. The development and implementation of MMC in Scotland has been done in partnership between the Executive, NHS Education for Scotland, the wider NHS Scotland, the Royal Colleges, and the BMA.

Source: Scottish Executive (PR)

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