Independent Review To Establish Way Forward For Modernising Medical Careers

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Medical Careers

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced an independent review to establish how the Modernising Medical Careers programme will go forward in 2008 and beyond.

The review will be chaired by Sir John Tooke, Dean of the Peninsula Medical School, Chair of the Council of Heads of Medical Schools and Chair of the UK Health Education Advisory Committee.

Membership of the panel is still to be confirmed, the review will examine the processes underlying Modernising Medical Careers and make recommendations to ensure that we can implement any necessary improvements for 2008 and the future.

The reform of specialist medical training is the next stage of the Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) initiative, designed to improve the quality and safety of patient care through better education and training for doctors and ensure fully trained specialist doctors deliver more NHS services.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said: "I would first like to record my gratitude to Professor Neil Douglas and his current Review Group for the investment of time and expertise they have put into providing recommendations for the current years training selection process.

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"It was important to find a sensible way forward for 2007 but we now need to look forward to 2008. The new panel will build on the work of the current Review Group. We are now some two years into the Modernising Medical Careers initiative which started with the successful launch of Foundation Programmes in 2005. I believe, therefore, that the time is now right to undertake a wider review of Modernising Medical Careers. It is an important programme and we must apply the lessons we have learned to a wider context.

"The review will clarify and strengthen the principles underlying MMC to ensure that they have engagement and support from the medical profession and its leaders. I want the review particularly to look at how the processes involved in delivering Modernising Medical Careers meets the needs of the service, employers and doctors in training.

"Engagement from the profession is very important. There is a broad consensus on the essential principles of Modernising Medical Careers but this consensus must be translated into benefits that are tangible to the trainees themselves.

"The medical education and training system in this country is rightly regarded as second to none. The pursuit of excellence is at its roots. The move we are making to a transparent, competence-based training system based on clear standards, that provides a level playing field for all junior doctors and the best possible doctors for patients is the right way forward and is widely accepted. However, I want trainees to understand that excellence and high achievement are still at the heart of the system.

"The design and implementation of Modernising Medical Careers will inevitably involve a great range of stakeholders from the Royal Colleges, individual employers, postgraduate deaneries, the BMA, doctors themselves and patients. I want the review to address this and help us make sure we engage with the stakeholders as effectively as possible.

"I also want to ensure that Modernising Medical Careers can deliver a flexible response and can reflect local needs across the UK as well as safeguarding national standards. The review will of course consult the devolved administrations to secure this."

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