Headlines: August 10th, 2005

A groundbreaking change in postgraduate medical training has been launched as thousands of medical school graduates begin their careers in the NHS. The first year after medical school, known as the pre-registration house officer year, has been replaced by a two year foundation training programme.The programme requires doctors to demonstrate explicitly that they are competent in a number of areas including communication and consultation skills, patient safety and teamworking, as well as the more traditional clinical skills. Trainees will be assessed by consultants. Around 4850 trainees are now starting the programme which will give them exposure to a range of career placements across a broad spectrum of specialties. The programme recognises the multidisciplinary nature of the trainees work environment and it will be delivered with the help of nursing and allied health professionals.

Each foundation doctor will have a dedicated educational supervisor who will be responsible for supporting them and ensuring they have appropriate learning opportunities. Each deanery will also ensure that foundation doctors have access to career advice. For each placement, trainees will also have access to an educational supervisor, as well as a clinical supervisor. The programme will improve patient safety as well as medical careers. Progression is based on the achievement of competence, rather than time served.