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Foundations for the future: preparing tomorrow's medical educators today
  1. Jennifer A Heathcote1,
  2. Elizabeth Nyholm2
  1. 1Associate Specialist and General Training Programme Director, East Cheshire NHS Trust, East Cheshire Community Sexual Health Clinic, Macclesfield, UK
  2. 2GP Principal and GP Trainer, Omnia Medical Practice, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jennifer Heathcote, East Cheshire NHS Trust, East Cheshire Community Sexual Health Clinic, New Alderley Building, Macclesfield District General Hospital, Victoria Road, Macclesfield SK10 3BL, UK; j.heathcote{at}

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Good teachers have a major influence on the quality and safety of medical care delivered to patients. As the area of sexual and reproductive health care (SRH) has evolved there has always been a strong commitment to supporting the development of sexual health teachers. The first guidelines were produced in 1977 at the request of the Joint Committee for Contraception, with a revision in 1985,1 and further revisions in 1994 and 2006 following the establishment of the Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care (now the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare). Family Planning Instructing Doctors, now termed ‘Faculty Trainers’, have been dedicated to the training of clinicians and have recently undertaken the delivery of the new Diploma of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (DFSRH) programme with enthusiasm. An independent evaluation of the DFSRH by Professor Ed Peile2 commended the trainers’ strong ethos of striving for excellence.

Medical education research is advancing rapidly, rising to the challenge of ensuring that clinicians have the knowledge and skills to meet the health care needs of modern society. Recognition that sexual health clinicians need to be able to demonstrate reflective practice and other competencies has supported a revision of the Letter of Competence in Medical Education (LoC MEd) over the last year, resulting in the establishment of a formal university-accredited Postgraduate Award in Medical Education that aims to meet the needs of sexual health teachers.

Setting standards for medical teachers

General Medical Council (GMC) guidance has firmly stated the importance of ‘professionalising’ medical teachers: “If you are involved in teaching you must develop the skills, attitudes and practices of a competent teacher”.3

In 2009, the Academy of Medical Educators published the Professional Standards Framework, updated in 2012,4 which defines standards for the formal validation and recognition of medical educators. …

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  • Funding None.

  • Competing interests None.

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

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