Creator of the MIR specialist training system for doctors, dies aged 95

Creator of the MIR training system for doctors, dies aged 95

Fernando Alonso-lej de las Casas - Credit Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza

The creator of the MIR training system for doctors, Cardiologist Fernando Alonso-Lej de las Casas, has died at the age of 95.

According to news site El Mundo he died on Wednesday, November 2 at the Miguel Servet hospital in Zaragoza.

Alonso-Lej studied medicine in Zaragoza and after graduating with top honours in 1951, he moved to the United States. There he studied general surgery and thoracic and cardiovascular surgery

A skilled physician he became the first foreigner to hold the post of chief resident at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore.

Eleven years later he returned to Spain joining the General Hospital of Asturias as Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery, which is where he first got the idea of developing the training programme.

With the approval of hospital manager Carles Soler Durall, he went about creating a complete protocol, with its corresponding manuals for the training of postgraduates.

The MIR training system was eventually adopted across Spain ensuring that doctors spent their first year learning the basics and gradually moving through the specialisms and up the ranks.

Alonso-Lej’s system was based on a path of increasing responsibility and decreasing supervision. The programme began in 1963 with the best practitioners chosen to attend.

In 1972 the system was adopted in all government hospitals and in 1984 consolidated as the only legal route to specialisation in Spain.

Alonso-Lej retired in 1998 and has since been the recipient of many awards including being named as an Exemplary Zaragozan by the City Council of the Aragonese capital.

Alonso-Lej is a man who left his mark on Spain as the creator of the MIR training system for doctors.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at