Training in basic and advanced life support in UK medical schools: questionnaire study BMJ Volume 323, pp 22-23
Researchers in this week's BMJ find that some UK medical schools do not provide compulsory resuscitation training and that the extent of training in other schools is variable, even though newly qualified doctors are expected to take part in resuscitation from their first day.
Both the General Medical Council and The Royal College of Physicians recommend training during the undergraduate course, but there is no obligation on medical schools or trusts to provide a defined standard of resuscitation training.
A survey was devised in consultation with BMA student representatives of all 27 UK medical schools. Completed questionnaires were received from 23 schools and results were sent to the deans of all 27 schools. Three schools failed to respond both to postal reminders and to the mailings sent to the deans.
The results show that most medical schools provide some form of compulsory advanced life support training. However, two (8%) of the medical schools do not provide any compulsory training, and it is possible that the three schools that failed to respond also provide no training. Once students qualify, their time for training is limited and they have no allocated study budget until after their first year, explain the authors. Those who attend advanced life support courses usually do so in their own time and with their own money.
The authors believe that training in advanced life support should become a standardised and mandatory component of all medical school undergraduate curriculums, but more work needs to be done in evaluating the right level of training for medical students.
The launch of a one-day immediate life support course by the UK Resuscitation Council later this year may provide optimal standardised resuscitation training for medical students, conclude the authors.
Seamus Phillips, Senior House Officer, London