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Good Medical Practice or CanMEDS for education?
  1. Trevor Gray1,
  2. Janet Grant2,3
  1. 1Department of Clinical Chemistry, Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  3. 3Centre for Medical Education in Context [CenMEDIC] & FAIMER Centre for Distance Learning, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Trevor Gray, Department of Clinical Chemistry, Northern General 2 Hospital, Sheffield S5 7AU, UK; tagray{at}


Background The medical regulator in the UK, the General Medical Council, requires curricula and assessments for postgraduate training to be blueprinted to its regulatory statement, Good Medical Practice. A similar document, Tomorrow's Doctors (2009), covers undergraduate education and training. Good Medical Practice, originally designed to regulate medical practice, is not optimally worded as an educational document. The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada's physician competency framework known as CanMEDS is designed with education more centrally in mind.

Methods The wordings of Good Medical Practice and Tomorrow's Doctors (2009) were compared with CanMEDS using ‘word clouds’, a textual analysis tool which provides a display of word frequency, revealing the emphasis in the wording of documents.

Results Good Medical Practice places much greater emphasis on the regulatory rather than the educational aspects of medical practice when compared with CanMEDS and is therefore less suitable for blueprinting curricula, especially in disciplines with high science content such as pathology.

Conclusions Good Medical Practice is less suitable for an educational role and the General Medical Council should consider developing a more specific educational document around these principles.

  • Education
  • professional competence
  • curriculum
  • teaching
  • training
  • general
  • chemical pathology

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  • Competing interests Although TG was formerly director of examinations and assessment at the Royal College of Pathologists and JG has been employed as a consultant by this College, the views expressed in this article are the personal views of the authors and do not represent in any way the view of the College.

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