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Review of FAST PACES

Pakistani physicians have been contributing to health systems globally. One of the measures of a physician’s competence is structured examinations. Clinical examinations assess a physician’s core medical training strength and compassion.  The MRCP (Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom) is still considered the benchmark of post-graduate clinicians’ excellence. The clinical exam of MRCP is PACES (Practical Assessment of Clinical Examination Skills).

International clinical examinations are continually changing. PACES has also evolved, but the core ethos remains unchanged.  At the heart of this exam is an objective analysis of a clinically sound yet compassionate physician who can demonstrate excellent logical diagnostic ability. 

Clinical examinations require in-depth clinical knowledge, par excellence clinical skills, and the ability to demonstrate superlative communication skills. FAST PACES Clinical Medicine is a handbook that helps candidates achieve these aims. It is a compact yet comprehensive text that helps physicians understand the examiner’s expectations while providing up-to-date clinical information pertinent to patient diagnostics and management. 

The book provides various clinical scenarios, evidence-based information, guidelines, and questions that reflect the latest examination format.  It prepares candidates for post-graduate clinical examinations and could be used by undergraduates as a detailed clinical handbook.  FAST PACES has received recognition in the medical circles and has become an immediate success, especially since the PACES examination center’s opening in Pakistan. 

The book’s mind-maps are born out of the philosophy of a logical approach to a clinical problem. 

While medicine is indeed an ocean, the most commonly examined topics are delved into – as the adage goes – ‘common things occur commonly.’ The layout involves a systematic approach with a focus on practicality. Dr Imran Babar, who has two decades of professional medical education experience, authors FAST PACES.  He pioneered the boot camp style clinical training program in Pakistan and contributed to the revival of bedside clinical skills.  Edited by Dr Zohaib Yousaf, FAST PACES is aware the reader has a partially synthesized understanding of clinical medicine and seeks to help. 

Dr Zohaib Yousaf is primarily a physician and received international recognition as a physician-scientist. This book is part of his international collaborations in medical education. This effort is a part of the global movement to revive the dying art of history taking, clinical examination skills, and compassionate patient care.  We hope such international collaborations will bring about a new era in medical education in Pakistan and globally.


The writer is Assistant Professor ENT, MBBS, FCPS, BSC, Services Hospital, Services Institute of Medical Sciences, (SIMS) Lahore).

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