Log In
Sunday 18th March 2018

Medics need more bodies

13th March 2007

A national shortfall in the number of bodies available for medical research is threatening the quality of medical training in the UK, say doctors.


It is estimated that around 1,000 cadavers are needed annually to teach anatomy and surgical skills to medical students. However, the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) says there is a 30% shortfall nationally, which is having a detrimental effect on the competence and confidence of trainee surgeons. It is a legal requirement that a person has specifically requested their body be left for medical research before medical schools can accept them and the Human Tissue Act now requires a witness be present when a person decides to bequeath their body. The college says that while many people carry donor consent cards they haven’t taken the necessary steps to ensure their bodies are available for use in medical schools. The RCS is also worried about the availability and suitability of cadavers in the future. With increasing cases of MRSA-type infections and higher levels of surgical intervention, many bodies would be inappropriate for medical training.

Undergraduate medical students already receive much less teaching in anatomy than in previous years and some medical schools have stopped dissection-based teaching completely. Dick Rainsbury, director of education at the RCS said he was worried about the quality of teaching that trainee doctors receive when they are getting little hands-on experience. He added, "Visual demonstration is not enough. If the UK is to produce high-quality surgeons, the teaching of anatomy has to be of the highest standard. [Cadavers] are hugely important to us in the teaching of anatomy."

Share this page


There are no comments for this article, be the first to comment!

Post your comment

Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.

Your email address:

Your comment will be checked by a Healthcare Today moderator before it is published on the site.

Mayden - Innovative cloud-based applications for healthcare
© Mayden Foundation 2018