Objectives: To identify current practice in teaching on smoking and smoking cessation in UK medical schools, and establish whether newly qualified UK doctors feel prepared to deliver smoking cessation interventions.
Design: Search of published curricula from all UK medical schools; questionnaire surveys of all UK medical school deans and UK qualified pre-registration house officers (PRHOs).
Participants: Deans or nominated representatives from all 24 UK medical schools with current undergraduates, and all UK qualified PRHOs.
Main outcome measures: Inclusion and organisation in curriculum of 15 predefined core topics related to smoking (deans); perceived readiness to deliver smoking cessation interventions (PRHOs).
Results: There was no mention of smoking or smoking cessation in the published curriculum material of 10 (42%) medical schools. Deans reported compulsory teaching on a mean (SD) of 9.5 (2.8) core topics, while PRHOs recalled compulsory teaching in only 6.6 (3.2). Training in clinical aspects of smoking cessation was particularly neglected, with 60% of PRHOs reporting that they graduated unable to deliver smoking cessation interventions in accordance with national guidelines. Only 17% of PRHOs felt well prepared to deliver advice on using nicotine replacement therapy, and 5% on bupropion.
Conclusions: Teaching on smoking cessation in UK medical schools is inadequate.
- medical schools
- GP, general practitioner
- NHS, National Health Service
- NRT, nicotine replacement therapy
- PRHO, pre-registration house officers
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