Author: Dr Zana Ladipo, New Croft Sexual Health Centre, The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle, UK
Sexual Health services in the United Kingdom are changing from separate Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) clinics and Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health (FSRH) clinics to a more integrated Sexual Health service, a one-stop shop for patients. There is now a debate as to whether this may lead to a loss of expertise1 and whether it will improve patient care2 -3 and provide more career opportunities for staff.1 Of particular concern is a difference between the two career tracks in the respective opportunities they offer to acquire teaching training skills.
On the FSRH side, trainees are required to have passed their Diploma in FSRH (DFSRH) and their membership exams, and, with the planned merging of the services, are increasingly being advised to obtain the Diploma in GUM. But they have also been required to do the FSRH & Keele University Post Graduate Award in medical education (PGA Med Ed).
On the GUM side, trainees are required to achieve the GUM, HIV and FSRH diplomas. But only some pursue a qualification in medical education, e.g. the Royal College of Physicians Certificate in Medical Education. This represents a significant disadvantage for GUM trainees. It isn’t just that the PGA Med Ed improves teaching and feedback skills: it also enables the graduate to become a Faculty Registered Trainer (FRT) and train others towards obtaining the DFSRH, which is a compulsory qualification for both GUM and FSRH trainees. Doctors and nurses in all specialities are required to take on roles involving increasing amounts of medical education.4 Most have little formal training in this area. In these times of austerity and budget cuts, offering training towards the DFSRH can be a useful way for a clinic to generate revenue by attracting external paying candidates as well as providing local training.
Most importantly, however, without the PGA Med Ed, GUM trainees cannot obtain FRT status. I have spoken about the PGA Med Ed to other GUM trainees, all of whom were unaware of this. Only one other GUM doctor and I attended the course in March 2014, and I think this may be due more to lack of knowledge about the course among GUM trainees rather than a lack of interest. I do not feel it should be compulsory for GUM trainees, but simply aim to increase awareness of its availability and usefulness. Information on the course can be found at the FSRH website (http://www.fsrh.org/) under ‘Training’. I hope that after reading this letter you agree that the PGA Med Ed is a worthwhile qualification for GUM specialists working in or starting an integrated service.
Dr Zana Ladipo
- French RS, Coope CM, Graham A, et al. One stop shop versus collaborative integration: what is the best way of delivering sexual health services? Sex Transm Infect 2006,82;3:202-6 (STIs/French&Graham)
- Dawson, SG, Callander N, Roche C, et al. Integrated sexual health care: the development and review of one model of service delivery. Int J STD AIDS 2000;11:428-34 (Dawson&Roche)
- Kinn S, MacDonald C, Hinks S, et al. Clients and staff views on facilities and services, before and after the convergence of sexual, reproductive and women’s services. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care 2003;8:65-74 (Kinn&Hinks)
- Hutchinson, L. ABC of learning and teaching: Educational environment. BMJ 2003;326:810 (Hutchinson)