Context: The teaching and assessment of clinical communication have become central components of undergraduate medical education in the UK. This paper recommends the key content for an undergraduate communication curriculum. Designed by UK educationalists with UK schools in mind, the recommendations are equally applicable to communication curricula throughout the world.
Objectives: This paper is intended to assist curriculum planners in the design, implementation and review of medical communication curricula. The document will also be useful in the education of other health care professionals. Designed for undergraduate education, the consensus statement also provides a baseline for further professional development.
Methods: The consensus statement, based on strong theoretical and research evidence, was developed by an iterative process of discussion between communication skills leads from all 33 UK medical schools conducted under the auspices of the UK Council of Clinical Communication Skills Teaching in Undergraduate Medical Education.
Discussion: How this framework is used will inevitably be at the discretion of each medical school and its implementation will be determined by different course designs. Although we believe students should be exposed to all the areas described, it would be impractical to set inflexible competency levels as these may be attained at different stages which are highly school-dependent. However, the framework will enable all schools to consider where different elements are addressed, where gaps exist and how to generate novel combinations of domains within the communication curriculum. It is hoped that this consensus statement will support the development and integration of teaching, learning and assessment of clinical communication.