Imperial convenes discussion on future of medical education and clinical science

Imperial’s medical community discussed the current challenges education and clinical science are facing with colleagues from across the NHS.

Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Advisor for the Department for Health and Social Care, and Professor Sir Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England joined an audience of colleagues from across the NHS, academia, sector experts and the Imperial medical community for a lively and interactive discussion on what needs to be done to ensure a

“My vision is of a skilled, multidisciplinary, collaborative workforce that’s ready to address the challenges of health and care in the 21st century—and that this research and innovation agenda needs to be woven through all aspects of the NHS” Prof Lucy Chappell

thriving medical education sector and health service that maintains the UK’s status as a clinical research powerhouse.

Organised in the context of the 25-year anniversary of Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine and ongoing reforms to medical workforce planning in England, the discussion generated innovative and blue-sky thinking on the main challenges to embed clinical research into the NHS workforce development agenda and the national medical education system.

The event was opened by Professor Amir Sam, Head of the Imperial College School of Medicine, and chaired by Professor Jonathan Weber, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.

UK clinical academics are critical to the UK’s status as a clinical research powerhouse and have been essential to the COVID-19 response: trials like RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP and studies like REACT would not have been possible without a solid base of clinical academics. The discussion picked up what we need to do to retain and build this base.

Speaking during the event, Professor Chappell said: “I am excited to talk about this topic, which I see as absolutely critical. My vision is of a skilled, multidisciplinary, collaborative workforce that’s ready to address the challenges of health and care in the 21st century—and that this research and innovation agenda needs to be woven through all aspects of the NHS, underpinned by that capacity and capability. Those opportunities also need to exist across demographics, geographies, work roles, career paths, and be based on quality.”

Professor Amir Sam said: “At Imperial, we believe passionately in evidence-based education and are proud to embed research into our undergraduate medical training. We think this approach is vital to maintaining the UK’s status as a world leader in medicine and clinical research. We are also conscious of the pressures on our health and care workforce and the need to train doctors who are prepared for practice. This is why these collaborative discussions on the challenges of medical education and clinical science in the NHS are so important.”

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It also set out some key themes and questions, including how to balance getting the health system the workforce it needs with investing in people as clinical academics and whether all doctors need to be trained so they can be clinical scientists and the implications of this given the necessary level of science underpinning this training and the infrastructure needed to deliver it.

In response to the event, Professor Weber said: “I was delighted to welcome Lucy and Sir Stephen to Imperial’s White City Campus, alongside such a diverse range of clinical and academic colleagues from across the country. This was a vibrant discussion on the important topic of training the next generation of clinical academics and research-skilled medical professionals who can lead excellent clinical research in the future and support the ever-evolving needs of our national health and care service.”

The event finished with a networking reception.

  • Prof Amir Sam, Head of Imperial College School of Medicine, opened the event

  • Prof Jonathan Weber, Dean of Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine (centre), chaired the discussion

  • Lord James Bethell contributes to the discussion

  • Prof Waljit Dhillo, Dean of the NIHR Academy, speaks during the discussion

  • Guests from across the country contributed to the discussion

  • Guests from across the country contributed to the discussion

  • Guests enjoyed a reception following the discussion

  • Guests enjoyed a reception following the discussion

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