Call to cut medical course bureaucracy

August 2, 1996

The relationship between universities and the health professions that validate their courses is bureaucratic and prone to difficulties, a major report says.

The professions' council, which validates courses, is hidebound by 1960s' legislation passed before the disciplines switched to degrees as their exclusive method of initial training. It wastes university course organisers' time and causes friction between them and the course validators, the report says.

The Regulation of Health Professions, published last week, will be used to draft legislation modernising the relationship between universities and course validators, Baroness Cumberlege, junior health minister, announced last week.

The validation report, supervised by a steering group chaired by Sheila McLean of Glasgow University, proposes a new body to replace the course-validating body, the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine, which would be freer from government influence and have greater powers.

It recommends the abolition of the seven separate professional boards through which the CPSM must operate. Each is independent of the others and independent of the CPSM central council. At present a university that teaches all seven subjects could be operating seven timetables on seven quite different courses with staff who do not talk to each other, with seven separate sets of visits from the CPSM.

The Regulation of Health Professions, by J. M. Consulting, Saville Court, Saville Place, Bristol, BS8 4EJ.

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