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Doctors and their education: CPD in the modern and changing world

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The Postgraduate Medical Journal (PMJ) was founded in 1925 by the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, a group of physicians and surgeons who recognised in the early 20th century a need to develop and improve postgraduate training.1 As a new editorial team has taken up the stewardship of PMJ, it is worth asking what it is that makes an effective doctor and how a journal can contribute.

As medicine becomes ever more effective, keeping up with new knowledge and skills is ever more important. Undertaking continuous professional development is expected of doctors2 and one of the functions of revalidation is to link a licence to practice with a degree of “uptodate-ness”. But knowing what is available to patients is not all there is to being an effective doctor. Faster and easier access to information enables patients, if they want, to bring more than just the unique information about their own predicament to the consultation 3 and to ask more of their doctor: they may demand certain tests or treatments or resist suggested interventions. For example, some women with breast cancer asked for Herceptin before its …

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