Select Committee on Science and Technology Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 318-319)

Dr Mark Levy, Dr Susan Leech, Dr William Egner and Dr Pamela Ewan

17 JANUARY 2007

  Q318Chairman: Could I thank you for coming today. Perhaps I could just remind you that this session is webcast, so that it is out in the public domain. Members of the Committee have prepared their interests on a paper available to the public, so those declarations of interest will not occur during this session. Any over and above will be recorded. Perhaps it is worth just recording now that Viscount Simon has encountered Dr Ewan in a professional capacity, so that we have that recorded and declared. Could I ask you at the beginning of this fifth public hearing of our inquiry into allergy if you could introduce yourselves. I am Lady Finlay and I am chairing this inquiry and the other members of the Committee will be introduced as we go through the questions. Perhaps, Dr Ewan, you would like to start.

  Dr Ewan: I am Pamela Ewan. I am a consultant allergist working in Cambridge, running a very large allergy service. I am also Co-Chair of the National Allergy Strategy Group, which is a group which has tried to drive forward the need for allergy services.

  Dr Egner: I am William Egner. I am a Consultant Immunologist working in Sheffield. I am also Chair of the Standing Advisory Committee of the Royal College of Pathologists for Immunology and I am a practising immunologist who also provides an allergy service from my unit in Sheffield.

  Dr Leech: I am Susan Leech. I am a Paediatric Allergy Consultant working at King's College Hospital. I am the allergy representative on the College Specialist Advisory Committee for Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Diseases of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the allergy representative of the British Paediatric Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Diseases Group of the same organisation.

  Dr Levy: Good morning. I am a general practitioner in Harrow. I have had a specialist interest in respiratory disease for nearly 30 years, including allergy, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. I edit the Primary Care Respiratory Journal, which is a PubMed listed primary care journal. I am also a part-time academic at Edinburgh University, I am a clinical research fellow at Edinburgh, and I am representing the Royal College of General Practitioners at this Committee.

  Q319  Chairman: Thank you. Perhaps I could start by asking you how the Royal Colleges work together to maintain standards in allergy training and developing the allergy curricula.

  Dr Ewan: The Royal College of Physicians, through the Joint Committee on Higher Medical Training, has devised an allergy curriculum which is a very detailed curriculum, setting out what trainees should do. They have a log book in which the trainees record their experience during the duration of a five-year training period. That is controlled by the college. The college also have a system in place where they can review training posts, both where there are centres suitable to have trainees and, also, once trainees are in post there is a system to review trainees as they go through. I think it is perhaps important to point out that there are certain requirements for training, in that you have to have appropriate consultants to provide the training—usually two consultants in the specialty—and you have to have an appropriate clinical practice or experience for the trainees to provide the training required—mostly at the main centre but some trainees might rotate to other centres. It is well regulated from the college point of view.

  Dr Egner: Yes, that is correct. The same committee oversees the immunology and the allergy curricula. It receives input from both the SAC of the Royal College of Pathology with regard to immunologists' views of how the curricula should develop, and the Joint Committee for Immunology and Allergy, which is an intercollegiate Committee of the College of Physicians and the College of Pathologists, which provides input and liaison between immunologists and allergists and provides input into the JCHMT and they balance the different views there are regarding the curriculum.

  Dr Leech: The College of Paediatrics and Child Health has a similar structure, both for supervising and training, and there is an allergy curriculum which was developed based on the allergy curricula of the European Union of Medical Specialists who have a curriculum for paediatric allergology. We have developed an allergy training curriculum based on that with input from the adult allergy curriculum as well. Paediatric allergy training for paediatricians comprises of two years of what we call "higher specialist training"—which is SPR training which all paediatricians do—followed by three years' sub-speciality training in paediatric allergy. There is a college specialist advisory committee which monitors training centres and approves training centres. It devises the curriculum and it also supervises training.

  Dr Levy: The Royal College of General Practitioners has developed a curriculum and within the respiratory extension of the curriculum it is probably fair to say that allergy is mentioned not in very much detail. I do not believe that the Royal College of General Practitioners oversees the quality of training. The problem for GPs is really access to good quality training.

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2007