OBJECTIVES: To study the resources available and resources needed for ethics teaching to medical students in UK medical schools as required by the new GMC core curriculum. DESIGN: A structured questionnaire was piloted and then circulated to deans of medical schools. SETTING: All UK medical schools. RESULTS: Eighteen out of 28 schools completed the questionnaire, the remainder either indicating that their arrangements were "under review" (4) or not responding (6). Among those responding: 1) library resources, including video and information technology were found to be fairly well developed; 2) many schools had a good supply of handouts and sample cases for teaching; 3) most had a written syllabus, and 4) two-thirds examined in the subject. However, many schools indicated that there was an urgent need for: 1) full-time teachers (most ethics teaching is still by part-time and voluntary staff); funding for books and journals, and 3) additional teaching materials (including further case vignettes, handouts and sample exam questions). CONCLUSIONS: There has been a considerable overall improvement in resources for medical ethics teaching since the time of the last national survey (The Pond Report). However, provision varies widely from medical school to medical school. The particular needs identified were for full-time teachers, library resources and teaching materials. Wider use of existing organisations concerned with medical ethics could help to meet these needs.
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