HL Deb 07 June 2004 vol 662 cc23-4WA
Lord Clement-Jones

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether medical students receive any compulsory training at undergraduate or postgraduate level on skin cancer diagnosis and treatment; and [HL3039]

How many days of compulsory undergraduate or postgraduate training general practitioners receive on skin diseases. [HL3044]

Lord Warner

Individual higher education institutions determine their own undergraduate medical curriculum in the light of recommendations from the General Medical Council's (GMC's) education committee, which has the statutory responsibility to determine the extent of knowledge and skill required for the granting of primary medical qualifications in the United Kingdom.

The content and standard of postgraduate medical training is the responsibility of the UK competent authorities, the Specialist Training Authority for specialist medicine and, for general practice, the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice. Their role is that of custodians of quality standards in postgraduate medical education and practice. They are independent of the Department of Health. In addition, the GMC's education committee has the general function of promoting high standards of medical education and co-ordinating all stages of medical education to ensure that students and newly qualified doctors are equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for professional practice.

Lord Clement-Jones

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether general practitioner trainers are assessed for competence in dermatology; and [HL3040]

What training is available for general practitioners to improve their diagnosis and treatment of pre-cancerous and cancerous skin tumours. [HL3043]

Lord Warner

The Government do not specify the content of the general practitioner training curriculum. This is the job of the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice, which is the competent authority for general practice training in the United Kingdom. The JCPTGP is an independent professional body, and it is required by Section 9(3) of the Vocational Training Regulations 1997 to determine and publish the curriculum to be followed by a GP registrar (that is a trainee GP).

The regulations do specify seven competencies which must be tested, and which the curriculum must therefore teach:

  • factual medical knowledge sufficient to enable the doctor to perform the duties of a GP;
  • the ability to apply factual medical knowledge to the management of problems presented by patients in general practice;
  • effective communication, both orally and in writing;
  • the ability to consult satisfactorily with general practice patients;
  • the ability to review and critically analyse the practitioner's own working practices and to manage any necessary changes appropriately;
  • clinical skills; and
  • the ability to synthesise all of the above competencies and apply them appropriately in a general practice setting.

GPs are therefore expected to learn in training the skills needed to deal with all their patients.