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Reform medical education

Last updated: 01:12pm 16 May 2019

And we will reform medical education, including helping universities and local health systems work closer together to develop the roles and skills needed to serve patients.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.68

Our verdict

A 2017 report by the General Medical Council found that

  • The supply of new doctors into the UK medical workforce has not kept pace with changes in demand
  • The strain on doctors training and being trained continues

This policy suggests that the reform of medical education should be far-reaching, encouraging cooperation between universities and local health systems to develop the most appropriate curriculum and assessment to prepare students for medical practice. We are looking for steps towards this kind of reform when evaluating this policy.

So far, when it comes to reforming medical education, this government has announced that it is increasing the number of student places at medical schools by 1,500, aimed especially at regions that struggle to attract trainee medics, and at disadvantaged socio-economic groups.

Given that the increase is based on local need, this is an example of cooperation with local health systems. However, the cooperation doesn’t extend to the content of teaching and training, nor the method of assessment, so it only partially fulfils the policy promise as we interpret it.

We are marking this as ‘in progress’. Reform of medical education has begun, but is not as far-reaching as the manifesto pledge implies. If we also see reform of curricula and assessment processes based on cooperation between universities and local health systems, we will move this to ‘done’. Follow this policy for updates.

Further reading

There's always room for debate

We’re serious about providing clear, up-to-date, non-partisan information. We focus on being consistent and fair in how we reach our verdicts, and always explain our reasoning. But there is always room for debate. So if you see it differently, we’d love you to tell us why. Or even better, submit an edit.