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Shaping medical education and training for an ever-changing workforce
  1. Professor Sue Carr1,2,3
  1. 1Deputy Medical Director, General Medical Council, London, UK
  2. 2Consultant Nephrologist, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester, UK
  3. 3Honorary Professor, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Sue Carr, Consultant Nephrologist, General Medical Council, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Honorary Professor of Medical Education, University of Leicester, 3 Hardman Street, Manchester M3 3AW, UK; Sue.Carr1{at}

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The General Medical Council’s (GMC) motto of ‘Working with doctors, working for patients’ is at the heart of the work we carry out to ensure medical schools and postgraduate medical training is of the high standard that patients demand, and rightly deserve. However, we know delivering world-class healthcare is taking its toll on doctors and carrying out research into how we can ease the burden and find how burnout can be prevented is becoming a key focus of our work.

While still delivering our important statutory functions of controlling access to the register and investigating when things go wrong, we are actively supporting professionals to maintain and improve standards of good medical practice. Additionally, there is a vast amount of work taking place behind the scenes at the GMC to adapt to the ever-evolving environment we are training doctors to work in.


The UK population is continuously changing. We have an ageing and consequently increasingly frail population with more people with complex and comorbid diseases. We have more patients with disabilities related to mental and physical health problems—which we expect will continue to rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, more young people tend to live in urban areas, whereas there are more older people generally residing in more rural areas.

This in turn places a demand on services meaning we need to train more doctors with more generalist, flexible skills and have doctors located in the right geographical areas to treat patients. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of doctors working flexibly.

The medical workforce is also ever-varying. Our most recent ‘The state of medical education and practice in the UK’1 report showed we are seeing more female doctors on the register. Increasingly, female doctors make up a higher proportion of the workforce as male …

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  • Contributor SC is the sole author of this work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests SC is also an Elected Councillor at the Royal College of Physician.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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