Original Research

Reaching national consensus on the core clinical skill outcomes for family medicine postgraduate training programmes in South Africa

Yusuf Akoojee, Robert Mash
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 9, No 1 | a1353 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v9i1.1353 | © 2017 Yusuf Akoojee, Robert Mash | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 October 2016 | Published: 26 May 2017

About the author(s)

Yusuf Akoojee, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Robert Mash, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


Background: Family physicians play a significant role in the district health system and need to be equipped with a broad range of clinical skills in order to meet the needs and expectations of the communities they serve. A previous study in 2007 reached national consensus on the clinical skills that should be taught in postgraduate family medicine training prior to the introduction of the new speciality. Since then, family physicians have been trained, employed and have gained experience of working in the district health services. The national Education and Training Committee of the South African Academy of Family Physicians, therefore, requested a review of the national consensus on clinical skills for family medicine training.
Methods: A Delphi technique was used to reach national consensus in a panel of 17 experts: family physicians responsible for training, experienced family physicians in practice and managers responsible for employing family physicians.
Results: Consensus was reached on 242 skills from which the panel decided on 211 core skills, 28 elective skills and 3 skills to be deleted from the previous list. The panel was unable to reach consensus on 11 skills.
Conclusion: The findings will guide training programmes on the skills to be addressed and ensure consistency across training programmes nationally. The consensus will also guide formative assessment as documented in the national portfolio of learning and summative assessment in the national exit examination. The consensus will be of interest to other countries in the region where training programmes in family medicine are developing.


clinical skills; primary health care; primary care; district hospitals; family physician; graduate education


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