Undergraduate ethics teaching: revisiting the Consensus Statement

Med Educ. 2006 Apr;40(4):329-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2929.2006.02407.x.


Objective: To determine whether the recommendations of the Consensus Statement published 7 years ago have been implemented.

Design: Postal questionnaire survey of 28 UK medical schools.

Methods: A survey was sent to the lead individual for teaching and learning at each medical school. This questionnaire inquired about the undergraduate ethics and law curriculum, including its design, teaching, assessment, staffing, and individuals' hopes and concerns for the future.

Main outcome measures: Information relating to undergraduate ethics teaching in UK medical schools.

Results: Significant changes in the teaching and assessment of medical ethics and law that could be directly attributed to the Consensus Statement were identified. Whilst most schools covered all 12 recommended topics in their curriculum, only 3 felt all the topics were covered thoroughly and 3 schools said at least 1 topic was not covered at all. Only 16 schools identified 1 or more full-time academics who took direct responsibility for ensuring undergraduate medical students learnt about ethics; these were usually at lecturer grade.

Conclusions: The Consensus Statement has had a significant impact on the teaching of undergraduate ethics but, even 7 years on, not all its recommendations have been implemented fully.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Consensus
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / standards
  • Ethics, Medical / education*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Schools, Medical / standards*
  • Teaching / methods*
  • Teaching / standards
  • United Kingdom