The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the delivery of medical training across the UK. The majority of hospital placements across the country have been cancelled for the duration of the pandemic, with much on-site teaching suspended. General Medical Council (GMC) guidance suggests that medical schools prioritise final year teaching and assessment as well as develop local contingencies for education.1 Medical School Council (MSC) guidance to medical schools suggests the exploration of online learning and encouraging creativity in order to fulfill the learning outcomes set by the GMC.2 From these learning outcomes, 3 4 5 medical schools traditionally are able to exercise much freedom in their delivery to students, with a number of valid strategies practiced across the UK. 6
Given the existing variation in course delivery, the degree to which they are affected by the pandemic will likely exhibit variation, with the solutions devised to continue fulfilling course objectives likely also exhibiting variation, a prediction that is also highlighted in the GMC COVID-19 guidance to medical students.7
The relative success of these contingencies has the potential to be variable, with little current information available to both identify the novel solutions and assess the efficacy of the solutions devised. Valid potential sources of this information are the recipient medical students, whose feedback is traditionally gathered regularly by many medical schools to assess and improve the delivery of their teaching. In light of COVID-19, up to date feedback from students is required to reflect the potentially drastic changes to their medical courses. Given the current guidance by the MSC to engage in innovation, the sharing of information between medical schools is key to accelerating the design and improvement of current contingencies. (ref required)
Without feedback from medical students individual medical schools will be unable to monitor the relative successes of their solutions. This could impair fulfilment of GMC outcomes, leading to a need for significant course reform following the pandemic to ensure they are met.
Finally, for future pandemics this information may also be used to guide strategies to maintain a high quality of teaching and ensure the training of future doctors continues without disruption.