Deciding when students are not fit to practise
What are the standards and how do medical schools carry out the arbitration process? Liliane Field gives us the latest lowdown
Medical students are privileged in that they benefit from the generosity of patients who are willing to be questioned and examined when it may not be of direct benefit to them. This is because patients recognise the need to train a future generation and because they trust and respect them by virtue of their status. The more elevated a status, the easier it is for it to be undermined.
So just as a robust disciplinary process is necessary to maintain public confidence in doctors, it is also necessary to justify the trust and respect enjoyed by medical students. Any disciplinary process a medical undergraduate may go through should therefore consider impairment to fitness to practise and be robust enough for its findings to be accepted by the profession's regulatory body. Thus, standard university or college disciplinary processes are no longer sufficient.
The question of medical student fitness to practise has