As a prelude to more detailed formal contracting, North East Thames Region undertook a review to examine whether the content of postgraduate medical education (PGME) varies according to the type of hospital in which junior doctors are trained. The study covered a sample of 83 trainees at different grades in four types of hospital (postgraduate, university, district general hospital involved in off-site undergraduate medical education, and district general hospital with no formal involvement in undergraduate medical education) and was designed as a qualitative comparative study. The results of the study point to a perceived lack of structure in PGME and indicate that hospital type alone does not determine a trainees' PGME experience. Moreover, different training grades have different educational needs, which will need to be addressed under more formal contracting arrangements. The Region plans to take this work forward by convening one or more consensus conferences to examine how a more structured approach to PGME could be implemented.
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