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Can Defence be assured that future civilian specialty training programmes will produce suitably qualified and experienced military doctors?
  1. Stuart McPhail
  1. Institute of Naval Medicine, Gosport, Hampshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Surg Lt Stuart McPhail, Institute of Naval Medicine, Gosport PO12 2DL, Hampshire, UK; s.mcphail{at}


UK Defence’s doctors receive the majority of their pre-accreditation clinical training within the National Health Service’s (NHS) specialty training programmes. These are designed primarily to serve the needs of a civilian patient population and are undergoing changes. Examination of these changes in relation to the training requirements of Defence’s doctors, suggests that future NHS training programmes present both opportunity and threat to the provision of competent military consultants and general practitioners (GPs). Opportunity to more easily integrate military-specific courses, experience and modules will be present in the form of curricula that are more receptive to change and more flexible with respect to time out of programme. This offers definite advantage in terms of ability to robustly equip military doctors with the skills required to serve their future patients. Narrowing scopes of practice and a reduction in acute care exposure for GPs are potential future threats.

  • medical education & training
  • primary care
  • sports medicine
  • occupational & industrial medicine

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  • 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 None declared.

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

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