Deficiencies in the education of musculoskeletal medicine in Ireland

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Basic competency in musculoskeletal medicine is essential for many specialties being particularly relevant to primary care.


The purpose of this study was to objectively assess the adequacy of musculoskeletal education at multiple levels of medical training from undergraduate level to primary care.


A previously validated musculoskeletal examination was administered to 303 volunteers consisting of medical students, orthopaedic specialist registrars, general practice trainees and general practitioners.


Forty (71%) general practitioners and 74 (71.8%) general practice trainees failed to obtain the passing score of 70. Sixty-three (87.5%) medical students who had completed an intensive 1-week long course in musculoskeletal medicine failed the examination. The pass rate improved significantly for general practitioners who had completed a postgraduate rotation in musculoskeletal medicine (47.8 vs 18.1%, P < 0.01).


These findings suggest that training in musculoskeletal medicine is inadequate at multiple levels of medical education with reform urgently required.

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