medical schools council


MSC response to the GMC's State of Medical Education and Practice report


On the publication of the General Medical Council’s 2020 report on The state of medical education and practice in the UK, Professors John Atherton and Malcolm Reed, Co-Chairs of the Medical Schools Council, said:

“The report published today provides insight into the state of medical education and practice during the spring peak of the pandemic. Perhaps unsurpringly, the predominant themes which emerge are change and disruption. However, innovation is also present and it is likely that the lessons learned during this period will have a profound impact on medical education and training in the future.

“One example of considerable innovation included in this report is the creation of Foundation Interim Year 1 posts. In April 2020, medical schools acted quickly to expedite qualification to allow final year medical students who had met the requirements of their degree to graduate earlier than normal. This initial analysis of these doctors’ experiences suggests that the creation of FiY1 posts gave frontline services extra support and may have helped to better prepare doctors for their first substantative foundation post.

“Beyond the disruption caused by the pandemic, this report also underscores the fact that the long term sustainability of the medical workforce is a cause for concern. Despite the expansion in the number of medical school places in 2018, the number of doctors joining the register who graduated outside the UK still exceeds those who train in the country. The pressure the NHS is currently under serves as a reminder that the recruitment, retention and ongoing development of all doctors is key to delivering safe patient care.

“The shortage of doctors affects the quality of healthcare available to large portions of the population, with some regions and specialties more affected than others. Any future expansion in the number of medical students therefore needs to be strategically planned and funded to focus on under doctored regions and specialties. It is clear that flexibility in training pathways and in approaches to learning and professional development will be key to growing a sustainable workforce which can provide high quality care to all patients.”


Notes to editors:

1. The Medical Schools Council is the representative body for UK medical schools. The council is made of the heads of UK medical schools and meets in order to shape the future of medical education and research in the UK.

2. The state of medical education and practice in the UK is an annual report published by the General Medical Council. This year’s report presents a range of data, research and insights that highlight how the spring peak of the COVID-19 pandemic affected health services, patient care and the medical profession throughout the UK. 

3. For more information about this statement, please contact Lucy Chislett, Communications Officer at lucy.chislett[at]


News Archive