The NHS People Plan committed us to work with key stakeholders and partners on a national consultation to establish “what the NHS, patients and the public require from 21st-century medical graduates”. This work looked at the role of the doctor within the context of the future multidisciplinary team and considered how they interact with the evolving roles of other healthcare professionals.
The all-encompassing aim to provide a sustainable healthcare workforce that can deliver high-quality, person-centred care in the 21st century.
A Co-created vision
We drew upon the collective expertise of stakeholders and partners to build a vision of the Future Doctor. Through reform of medical education and training we will work to equip the medical workforce with the skills to manage complex care, understand the communities they serve, and work across health care with a broad skillset.
Working with our partners, we will continue to build on the successes of our Medical Education Reform Programme to enable us to drive change so that the medical workforce is fit for, and enthusiastic about, the future.
The impact of Covid-19
As we sought to understand the role of the future doctor in ten, twenty, and thirty years’ time the future came sooner than we thought. One of the comments from those responding to our engagement believed that, despite the need for change, our aspirations for reform within a few years would fail without some significant event:
“A geopolitical crisis, major global recession or cataclysmic pandemic will be the most likely driver of change. With all the will in the world, without a step-change in the money and power available, current planned changes in how health and social care in the UK will be delivered will be at best partial.”
COVID-19 created unprecedented challenges for the workforce. In response the system made rapid changes, becoming more flexible, responsive, empowered and motivated. We have an opportunity to make the most of the system wide collaborations during COVID-19 to drive change and create a Future Doctor able to adapt the increasingly complex healthcare landscape.
The Covid-19 pandemic illustrated how crucial generalist skills are in enabling doctors to be deployed in different specialties to meet patient need. Generalist skills are a key central component of our findings from the Future Doctor. Developing these skills augment specialist learning and ensure that doctors are confident at managing complex care during their early years of postgraduate training. As well as enhancing the generalist capabilities of doctors as they enter specialist training, it will also significantly improve patient care.
The Future Doctor report
The Future Doctor report sets out how education and training can evolve so that our Future Doctors are equipped with the right skills to respond to population need in an ever-changing health care landscape.
HEEs Future Doctor Programme aims to offer a clear view on what the public need from our future doctors. COVID-19 illustrated how multi-professional working and adapting to local and patient needs is essential for providing high quality care. Our vision for the Future Doctor outlines how we can reform medical education so doctors better understand population needs, develop general skills and work effectively in a multi-professional teams.