The World Federation for Medical Education welcomes the Declaration of Chicago, which was adopted in October at the WMA General Assembly. The Declaration calls for the development of national and regional quality assurance systems to ensure high standard of medical education and overcome the many threats to the quality of basic medical education.
The WMA Declaration says that ‘the growth of basic medical education globally, with a rapid increase in the number of medical schools in some countries, raises concerns about the quality of graduates. A well-developed quality assurance program allows schools to identify and address conditions that threaten the quality of their basic medical education. Such programs need to be implemented as far as possible at medical schools around the world’.
WMA President, Dr. Yoshitake Yokokura, called on the national medical association members to develop quality assurance programs and to support and promote the development of national and regional accreditation and recognition systems, stressing that all medical schools within a country should be required to participate.
The accreditation of medical education – the certification of the suitability of medical education programmes, and of the competence of medical schools in the delivery of medical education – ensures patient safety and competent practising doctors. Accreditation of medical education is normally carried out by national governments, or by agencies receiving their authority from national governments.
In the Declaration, the WMA encourages the members to urge national accreditation systems to participate in external reviews of their policies, practices, and standards, which may include seeking recognition by WFME.
Accreditation is the preferred quality improvement mechanism of many international bodies, including the WMA, WFME, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA). The Guidelines for Accreditation of Basic Medical Education were developed by an international task force in 2004, and published jointly by WHO and WFME in 2005. These guidelines form the basis of the 2013 WHO policy briefing on medical accreditation and the 2016 IAMRA statement on accreditation of medical education programmes.
WFME actively seeks to promote the quality of accreditation systems through promoting good practice. Through its Recognition of Accreditation Programme, WFME aims to ensure that accreditation systems are working at an acceptable and high level of quality. The WFME Recognition Criteria describe the minimum quality standards as they relate to the legal standing, accreditation process, post-accreditation monitoring, and decision-making processes of an accreditation agency for programmes and schools of basic medical education. WFME Recognition Status confers the understanding that the quality of medical education in schools accredited by the agency is at an appropriate and rigorous standard.
So far 7 accrediting agencies have been awarded WFME Recognition Status and 11 more applications are in progress.