Cure sought for medical ills

November 20, 1998

The perception that medical career paths are dissuading young doctors from entering academic medicine is to be investigated by the new Academy of Medical Sciences.

A working party from the academy is to look at the effects of specialist medical training on recruitment to academic medicine. The new system is allegedly reducing opportunities for medics to spend some years undertaking research.

Peter Lachmann, academy president, said there is a perception that recruitment to academic medicine has declined following the introduction of the training schemes.

"Training used to be much more flexible," he said. "Many of those who do well in academic medicine today have had unusual career structures. The question is how we can preserve this with the more formal training."

The working party will be chaired by John Savill, professor of medicine at Edinburgh University.

The academy is also setting up another working party, chaired by Dame Fiona Caldicott, principal of Somerville College, Oxford, to look at how research, particularly the findings of medical research, are communicated to and reported in the media.

Professor Lachmann said:."There is a feeling, particularly in medical matters, that a great deal gets lost, particularly in the non-technical press."

The academy is also considering setting up a database of medical research findings that can be accessed by doctors.

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