With brand new medical schools springing up at Keele, Warwick and Durham, the Open University hammering on the door to demand admission and promises of thousands of new doctors, these are exciting times for medical education. If only those who run it could be bothered to communicate some of that excitement. So pay a visit to the Council of Heads of Medical Schools and what do you find? Well, aside from a set of links to all medical school websites, not a lot. Nothing apparently has been added within the past 12 months.
Do the heads of medical schools really have no collective thoughts on the events of the past year? Nothing to say about the invitation offered in June to the University of East Anglia and to Exeter and Plymouth universities jointly to work up proposals for yet more medical schools? Nothing about proposals from King's College London and Kent University to widen access to medical education? It would seem not.
Similarly, the Specialist Training Authority of the Medical Royal Colleges offers a handy collection of links to the royal colleges themselves, but despite some doubtless useful advice on training requirements for junior doctors, it has had little to say for itself of late:
even the annual report is from 1998.
At least the Association for the Study of Medical Education has some purpose to its presence: mainly to advertise its meetings. A paper co-written by prominent GP and academic Professor Lesley Southgate on plans for a 'networked medical school' able to train new doctors and carry out research also makes fascinating reading.
Based on a small central management team closely linked to the OU, and proposing to make use of people and other resources spread throughout the NHS, it represents the sort of fresh thinking that is lacking elsewhere - at least in the public domain.
These and other sites of interest can be reached via HSJ's website at www.hsj.co.uk