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Specialist Training Programme In Family Medicine

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Specialist Training in Family Medicine in Malta takes place under the auspices of the government’s Primary Health Care Department, with the Malta College of Family Doctors responsible for ensuring the quality of academic training and assessment. As a result of Malta’s accession to the European Union in 2004, family medicine was accepted as a specialty and a ‘Specialist Training Programme in Family Medicine – Malta’ was drawn up by the Malta College of Family Doctors (MCFD) in 2005 and approved by the Ministry of Health’s Specialist Accreditation Committee (SAC) in 2006. The ‘Curriculum for Specialist Training in Family Medicine for Malta’ was published in 2009 by the MCFD’s Curriculum Board.  In 2011 the SAC approved a second edition of the 'Specialist Training Programme in Family Medicine - Malta' prepared by the MCFD.

The Specialist Training Programme in Family Medicine (STPFM) was launched in 2007 and is run on behalf of the Primary Health Care Department by two Postgraduate Training Coordinators in Family Medicine, Dr Mario R Sammut and Dr Gunther Abela, from the STPFM Office at the Mtarfa Primary Health premises in Mtarfa.

So as to focus on the learning needs of family medicine, the three-year programme is based in family practice and taught by GP (general practitioner) trainers, while supplemented by attachments with appropriate hospital specialties. Thus each GP Trainee undergoes training by working under the supervision of a GP Trainer in primary health care, and under the supervision of a hospital supervisor in various departments within secondary health care (Medicine, Paediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Accident & Emergency, Dermatology, ENT, Geriatrics, Palliative Care, Ophthalmology and Psychiatry). Moreover, from October to June, the trainees participate in an academic Half-Day Release Course consisting of afternoon teaching sessions taking place on a weekly basis.

In July 2010 the first cohort of 11 trainees undertook the summative examination, which was organized by the MCFD under the supervision of the UK’s Royal College of General Practitioners. Since then the summative examination is being held annually.  For satisfactory completion of training, a trainee must successfully conclude the training programme and the formative/summative assessment process. On successful completion, participants will be recommended by the MCFD to the SAC for certification as having completed the Specialist Training Programme in Family Medicine and inclusion as Specialists in Family Medicine in Malta’s Specialist Accreditation Register. They will also be awarded the Membership of the Malta College of Family Doctors, and would be entitled to apply for the International Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP[INT]) after the RCGP announced in August 2013 that it had extended MRCGP[INT] accreditation to Malta till 2016.