Side-effects of medical cuts (2 of 2)

June 30, 2011

As someone involved in postgraduate medical education, I am grateful to Times Higher Education for warning of the huge fee impediments facing any future graduates "wanting to study medicine as a career".

The British Medical Journal (25 June) has launched a debate around "whether broadly educated doctors are better doctors precisely because of the breadth of their education?". I would not want all my young trainees to have had the same educational path, but rather a rich variety of interests within their profession.

At a recent roadshow for the Campaign for Social Science, one topic under discussion was the value of interdisciplinary research to the UK. I gave a lightning illustration of this to the audience, summarising some work on their own risks of a heart attack, derived from the World Health Organization's Commission on Social Determinants of Health. The chair of that influential commission also happens to be the current president of the British Medical Association (Sir Michael Marmot). Perhaps breadth of education is useful to medicine?

Woody Caan, Professor of public health, Anglia Ruskin University

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