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How is training for medical and dental specialists being developed?

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 1.12.2016 15.25 | Published in English on 9.12.2016 at 10.02
News item

According to reports, the numbers of medical and dental specialists are divided by sector and are regionally uneven.

For example, certain fields have many specialists, while other fields have too few. For this reason a specific programme is being developed for medical and dental specialist training.

In a video interview, Teppo Heikkilä, Senior Medical Officer from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, describes how training for medical and dental specialists is currently being developed. In addition, he explains why a new transparent selection procedure is being created for the specialist training programme, how a student career guidance programme is being developed and whether the social welfare and health care reforms will affect training for medical and dental specialists.

Link to video interview: https://youtu.be/LmLxQE0Ui1k

Transcript of the interview

How is the training being developed?

“First of all, we aim to strengthen national guidance and coordination. To this end, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has set up a co-ordination division, which has representatives of all the specialist key stakeholder groups. In addition, the content of the programme has been discussed and will be developed accordingly. This happens primarily under the leadership of the universities, because the universities will continue to be responsible for the content of the education. Third, the legislation relating to specialist training is being developed to meet the current and future needs.”

A new selection procedure is being created for specialist training. Why?

“There are really two main reasons for the development of the selection process. First of all, the universities have noted that if the content and structure of the training is to be developed, it would be good to include the selection procedure. A transparent selection procedure will also be to the advantage of the specialists. The second reason is related to recent studies which have found certain imbalances in the medical and dental specialist fields, in which there are too many specialists in some fields and there are shortages in others. The development of the selection procedure could be a good way to correct this imbalance.”

Students’ career guidance is being developed. How?

“Information is central to the development of career guidance. We are there already, and we will provide even more information in the future, for example on what kinds of work situations exist in different fields of specialization now and in the future. We also aim to provide information transparently to all who contemplate going into specialist fields. We have also had preliminary discussions with the university career services about how they could help students in their final phases and graduate medical and dental specialists in considering their own careers. One of the main reasons the development of careers guidance has been considered important is that recent research results have indicated that specialists’ selection of their own specialist fields has played a surprisingly major role in increasing their dissatisfaction with their own area of expertise.”

Will the social welfare and health care reforms affect the training of medical and dental specialists?

“It is quite clear that the social welfare and health care reforms will affect medical and dental specialist training. For example, even the free choice options being currently prepared have an impact on where and how medical and dental specialist training can take place. During the preparation of the programme a key challenge has been how it will be coordinated with the social welfare and health care reforms. It is clear that the programme will need to be updated as the social welfare and health care reforms progress.”