Doctors in a survey have unanimously rejected proposals to create an apprenticeship-style scheme as an alternative way of training doctors.
Members of the Doctors’ Association UK have voiced their opposition to the proposed new Health Education England doctor apprentice scheme in a survey, stating that the training is likely to be “inadequate.”
Health Education England (HEE) is creating an apprenticeship programme allowing candidates to receive an undergraduate medical degree without taking the traditional course.
During the programme, students could earn money alongside their studies, making entering the profession more financially accessible, HEE says.
HEE say the government-funded apprenticeship will “retain the same high standards of training”, and the British Medical Association say the proposals are “interesting and worthy of consideration”.
However, in a survey, Doctors’ Association UK members have voted unanimously to reject the proposals.
Chair of the association, Dr Jenny Vaughan, says: “Whilst we do not disagree with the general consensus of the scheme, which aims to diversify and widen participation in medicine, the question raised, is why it is necessary, considering there is a surplus of fully trained final year medical students unable to secure FY1 placements.”
She believes: “It is the background of several years of both theoretical learning and practical experience that doctors draw upon which enables them to deal with complexity.
“The current apprenticeship proposals are unclear about how standards will be achieved and maintained, meaning we are concerned apprentice trainees will lack this basic grounding and could be hazardous for patients.”
Dr Lizzie Toberty, of the Doctors’ Association UK, commented: “This apprenticeship scheme risks spending a lot of time and money to develop inadequately trained doctors. Without a thorough and rigorous grounding in the sciences we risk dumbing down our health system. If patients do not have access to doctors with adequate clinical knowledge their treatment will suffer.
“We strongly recommend HEE focus on making current medical school places more affordable and accessible to those from all backgrounds.”