Medical education and the Scally report


Sir, – The lives of the women, and their families directly affected by the responses to the cervical smear screening programme’s failings are altered beyond recognition. The suffering and bravery of those who surfaced these problems painfully demonstrate the aspects of medical work and systems which require deep revision. To those women we are indebted, humbled and chastened.

As part of medical profession who are responsible for training, we urge all doctors to play their part in examining and implementing the recommendations of the Scally report.

We can do more to listen, learn and humbly implement the guidance from our patients, and deeply instil this awareness in specialist medical training in Ireland.

This will involve a review of postgraduate medical training which will challenge and refashion values and behaviours to encompass the practice of open disclosure and duty of candour which will ultimately demonstrate a greater prioritisation of patient perspective.

Patients encounter stressed doctors every day working in an understaffed, broken system over which they have poor control. Patients are all too often aware that healthcare workers are delivering care in a health service beset by systemic inertia and political distancing and indifference. We must find a better way to respond when things go wrong, have just and fair mechanisms of redress and work jointly toward restoring the bonds of trust.

The forum and the postgraduate medical training bodies acknowledge that the fundamental trust that exists between patients and doctors needs to be restored and sustained.

As the report recommends, we are committed to engaging with the patients and families affected so that we might hear, learn and honour their experience. – Yours, etc,



Forum of Irish Postgraduate

Medical Training Bodies,

Frederick House,

South Frederick Street,

Dublin 2.