PMETB was established by the General and Special Medical Practice (Education and Qualifications) Order, approved by Parliament two years ago, ‘to develop a single, unifying framework for postgraduate medical education and training across the UK’. PMETB will ‘go live’ on 30th September 2005 and a ‘launch event’ is being planned for 11 October in London.
The Chief Executive of PMETB is Paul Streets OBE, John Tuck is Director of Finance, and the newly-appointed Chair is Prof Peter Rubin. Pro Rubin chaired his first meeting of the Board on 17th June and at this meeting the College’s Medical Education Adviser, Dr Gareth Holsgrove, gave a presentation on Workplace Based Assessment. Isabel Nisbet, former Director of Operations and Standards, took up her new Chief Executive post at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority on 4th July. PMETB will shortly be moving to its new home at Hercules House (near Waterloo, in London).
PMETB will be the UK statutory authority responsible for establishing and raising standards and quality in postgraduate medical education and training. Its remit will cover what is currently basic and higher specialist training, but not undergraduate medical education nor that of pre-registration doctors, which remain the responsibility of the General Medical Council and universities. PMETB’s specific responsibilities will include:
· Approval of postgraduate medical education and training programmes and courses
· Accreditation of postgraduate education and training institutions and trainers
· Quality Assurance of the postgraduate medical education and training system
· Ensuring that assessments and examinations undertaken as part of training are valid, reliable and fair
· Issuing certificates to doctors meeting the standards it sets for successful completion of training (CCTs)
· Assessing the equivalence of the qualifications, training and experience of doctors seeking a statement of eligibility to apply for entry to the Specialist (under Article 14 of the Order) or General Practice (under Article 11) Registers of the General Medical Council.
PMETB is committed to root and branch reforms of the approval of training programmes, responsibility for which is transferred from the Colleges to PMETB on 30th September. In preparation for its new responsibilities, PMETB has recruited and trained over 60 lay visitors who will play an important role on approval teams. PMETB began receiving applications under Articles 11 and 14 on 4th July, but since it has not yet built up its full staff for this work, it asks that applicants bear with them during these early stages of what looks like being a major workload. Another consequence of the new legislation, which has been widely debated in the medical press, is the replacement of CCSTs (Certificates of Completion of Specialist Training) with CCTs (without the word specialist).
PMETB will sub-contract some of its work to the Colleges and is finalising service level agreements with College Chief Executives. An important implication to the College of the responsibilities of PMETB is that it will have to approve curricula, examinations and other assessments, as well as training programmes. With regard to assessment, PMETB will require that:
· the purposes and details of every component of the assessment system are specified and available to all interested parties, including trainees, trainers and the public
· sequential assessments add unique information and build on previous assessments
· the rationale for the choice of each assessment method is documented and evidence-based
· examiners are properly recruited against specific criteria
· examiners are trained and their work is monitored
· there is lay input in the development (and probably process) of assessment
· methods used to set standards are transparent and in the public domain
· the precision of the pass/fail decision is reported on the basis of data about the test
· feedback is provided to trainees and the policy and process for this is in the public domain.
For more information please see http://www.pmetb.org.uk/pmetb PMETB have announced standards for approval of training programmes. It was agreed at a consultation event that PMETB must take a firm lead in establishing minimum resourcing needs within the NHS. The visits to training schemes are likely to remain within the remit of the Colleges for at least another six months – possibly one year.