Doctor during the pandemic

GMC recommends doctors’ training priorities in the event of another pandemic-style event

New research published by the General Medical Council (GMC) highlights how doctors’ training should be managed in the event of another global health emergency like the pandemic.

The research identifies three priorities if another Covid-19-style event occurs.

This includes ensuring consistency of educational processes across different regions and specialties – i.e., guidance provided to trainers and trainees.

Communication should also be clear and timely; this could centre around exam changes, for example. The relevant IT and digital infrastructure should be available too.

How staff are cared for is the third focus – the GMC says data shows the significant effect Covid had on people’s wellbeing. Managing this should be paramount alongside developed crises and education.

“These learnings won’t just inform future exceptional events…”

The research found the majority of people agreed that ending the changes to training provision in 2023 was appropriate, and they should be left in reserve for future emergencies.

These changes included allowing exams to be completed remotely, while practical work also used simulated and online consultations.

The research was carried out by the University of Manchester in collaboration with Newcastle University.

Medical Director at the GMC, Professor Colin Melville, said: “It’s great to hear views are largely positive on the action taken to support trainees and educators, during a rapidly developing and uncertain period. This research also identified some of the more practical challenges we can anticipate and prepare for, should we face a similar significant event in future.”

Prof Melville, who is also the GMC’s director of education and standards, added: “These learnings won’t just inform future exceptional events, they’ve provided us with valuable insights into the changes we need to be adopting longer term, here and now on education and training.”

The research is available here.

Image credit: iStock

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