J Clin Pathol 63:99-101 doi:10.1136/jcp.2009.066670
  • Editorial

Filling the gaps in undergraduate teaching of clinical biochemistry

  1. Alia El-Kadiki
  1. Department of Clinical Chemistry, Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Trevor A Gray, Northern General Hospital, Herries Road, Sheffield S17 3HA, UK; trevor.gray{at}
  1. Contributors Dr El-Kadiki undertook the literature search and wrote the first draft. Dr Gray provided the outline and wrote the final document.

  • Accepted 3 November 2009

Pathology in the curriculum

Despite considerable effort by the General Medical Council (GMC) in formulating, and UK medical schools in delivering, a curriculum fit for producing doctors in the 21st century,1 2 there is still some doubt as to whether the resulting changes in the undergraduate courses have produced doctors with appropriate skills.3 Following the first publication of Tomorrow's Doctors in 1993 by the GMC,4 medical schools in the UK embarked on comprehensive revision of their curricula and instituted significant changes in their teaching methods. Prior to this, many medical courses consisted of 2 or 3 years of academic study focussing on basic and applied medical sciences, followed by a course that was more of an apprenticeship where medical students were taught by clinical teams on the wards and learned many clinical skills opportunistically. One of the principal aims of Tomorrow's Doctors was to enable doctors to be better prepared for clinical practice, especially in their first year after qualification.1 4 To this end, greater emphasis was placed on learning practical and communication skills, with less emphasis on learning the basic sciences, indeed the second edition of Tomorrow's Doctors,4 emphasised that ‘factual knowledge must be kept to the essential minimum’. This edict has led many medical schools to severely curtail the basic science tuition in their revised courses, and this has reduced the time available for teaching even basic pathology.

The latest edition of Tomorrow's Doctors (2009)2 has expanded the educational aims by including outcomes for training, the first category of which is ‘the Doctor as a scholar and a scientist’ with which most pathologists would identify. The first outcomes specified under this heading are that …