The Medical Council has conducted an “internal audit” of its legal responsibilities in medical education and training due to concern that the current processes are not sustainable.
The regulator’s annual report for 2019 outlined a risk of not fulfilling all statutory responsibilities in this area “due to insufficient capacity to address the associated increased workload”.
The internal audit led to the development of a high-level quality improvement plan and identified key areas for improvement. “This is very much in its infancy at present and will be considered by ETC [education and training committee] in October,” a Council spokesperson told the Medical Independent.
According to the annual report, the current practice of assessing every medical programme (basic and specialist); every organisation that delivers these programmes (medical school and postgraduate); and inspecting the places where intern and specialist training is undertaken on a five-year cycle is “neither sustainable nor the best use of resources”.
In 2018 the Medical Council commissioned Health Care Informed to commence a project to develop a single suite of standards across the medical education continuum. This project is still underway with a completion date in 2021. The new standards will go out for consultation with key stakeholders before being finalised. Once approved by Council, a process and approach will be developed to support and implement the new standards.
“Our education and training rules currently state an accreditation cycle is for a period of five years,” said the Council’s spokesperson. “As part of the quality improvement plan we will be reviewing the education and training rules and the duration of accreditation/inspection cycle.”