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New quality criteria to improve educational experience for trainee doctors

The Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians’ Training Board () has launched new to enhance the of trainee doctors, drive up the quality of training environments and ultimately improve patient safety and experience.

A 2013 JRCPTB survey of trainees in Core Medical Training (CMT*) found that heavy service demands were leading to a loss of training opportunities and a wide variability in the quality of supervision. Some trainees were even put off pursuing a career in the acute medical specialties by their experiences in CMT.

In response the JRCPTB has developed – from a broad consultation involving clinical educators, doctors in training and other key stakeholders – a set of quality criteria to apply to all UK-based CMT environments.The phrase ‘quality criteria’ was adopted to distinguish this educational venture from many other initiatives seeking to raise standards.

The criteria cover the structure of the programme, its delivery and flexibility, what supervision and other levels of support is available to trainees, and the standards of communications that should be met. Aside from ensuring that the CMT curriculum is covered systematically over the two year programme, the criteria also aim to help ensure trainees develop the required experience and confidence to perform the medical registrar role, which follows CMT.

Whilst the criteria are aspirational in nature, it is evident that many of them have already been implemented in various locations across the UK. The intention is to develop a culture of excellence in CMT, with all Trusts having at least met the specified ‘core’ criteria by the end of 2016.

The JRCPTB will distribute and promote the criteria, under the umbrella of the Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians and in partnership with major stakeholders, in particular Health Education England, NHS Education Scotland, the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans of the United Kingdom (COPMeD).

Professor David Black, JRCPTB medical director, said:

‘From very early on in their career, while training as a physician, young doctors are at the front line of acute hospital care. We have an absolute responsibility to our brightest and best doctors to ensure that they are fully supported and inspired to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes they will need in their career to provide excellent patient care in the future.’


* Before training for a particular medical specialty such as geriatrics or gastroenterology, doctors are required to complete two years of core medical training (CMT). During CMT, they take up a number of posts within the hospital, rotating to a new post every few months, to gain a wide range of experience in the different areas of the hospital.

Source: The Joint Royal College of Physicians Training Board (JRCPTB)