Completed research

Below is a list of all our published research reports. Click on the title to access the synopsis and full report.

We have also collaborated with the Economic and Social Research Council on a programme of research.

Many of our reports are commissioned from organisations that are independent of the GMC. This means that we may not share the views and opinions given in the reports.

 

Published

Topic

Research title

Description

Findings

October 2014Education and trainingHow prepared are UK medical graduates for practice?A Rapid Review of literature, interviews and focus groups with key interest groups (e.g. recent graduates, trainers and employers) and audio diaries kept by recent graduates.The research presents a mixed picture regarding how prepared graduates are: in some areas of practice they're prepared, but in others there's room for improvement.
September 2014Registration and licensingAssessing the equivalence of PLAB graduates to UK graduatesData relating to doctors performance on the PLAB test was linked to data relating to the same doctors’ performance on the MRCP(UK) and/or the MRCGP exams. This was compared with the performance on the same exams by UK graduates.The evidence suggests that the knowledge and skills of International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who had passed the PLAB test were substantially below those of UK graduates at the point when they sat the same post-graduate examination.
September 2014Registration and licensingDeveloping an evidence base for the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) TestA literature review complimented by contact with international experts and national and international professional bodies.Resits of the test should be limited to four. Methods for determining cut scores have acceptable reliability and validity, but alternatives should be considered and further data gathered.
September 2014Registration and licensingThe Validity of the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) Exam: Research ReportAn analysis was undertaking of doctors outcomes for IELTS tests, PLAB tests, ARCP assessments and GMC Fitness to Practice data to identify relationships between these.The evidence suggests that the knowledge and skills of International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who had passed the PLAB test were not equivalent to those of UK graduates.
July 2014Concerns about doctorsUnderstanding the rise in Fitness to Practise complaints from members of the publicMixed-methods approach involving statistical analysis of Fitness to Practice data, media analysis (quantitative and qualitative), a literature review and interviews with key individuals.Wider social changes have interacted with factors specific to the GMC and healthcare to drive the increase in complaints.
May 2014Concerns about doctorsFairness and the GMC: Doctors’ viewsFocus groups and a large-scale survey exploring doctors perceptions of the GMC. Responses were analysed to determine if views differed depending on ethnicity.Although the vast majority of doctors are confident in how the GMC carries out its role, more needs to be done to build trust among certain groups of doctors.
April 2014Registration and licensingEvaluating the strategic impact of medical revalidation: Building an evaluation frameworkExploring the views of key interest groups and reviewing literature in order to inform the development of a framework for the evaluation of the impact of revalidation.Four work streams for assessing the impact of revalidation identified, focusing respectively on supporting information, appraisal, responsible officer judgment making and patient and public involvement.
February 2014Registration and licensingIdentifying the appropriate IELTS score levels for International Medical Graduate applicants to the GMC registerStandard setting exercise using mixed stakeholder panels.The minimum overall score of 7.0 in the International English Language Testing System test is no longer adequate to prove English language ability.
November 2013Registration and licensingFactors that impact on medical student wellbeing - Perspectives of risksSurvey of medical students at eight medical schools.Monitoring medical student perceptions across eight core domains can provide an indication of student wellbeing during medical training.
July 2013Education and trainingIdentifying good practice among medical schools in the support of students with mental health concernsMixed-methods approach encompassing systematic literature review, an online survey and structured telephone interviews with medical schools together with focus groups and narrative interviews with medical students.Medical students are often reluctant to ask for help with mental health issues, but there are key practical steps medical schools can take to help.
April 2013Good medical practiceThe standards expected of doctors: Patient & public attitudesQualitative research investigating patients’ attitudes and expectations.Doctors should leave their personal beliefs ‘at the door’, providing treatment or advice in a non-judgmental way and not allowing their views to interfere with the treatment or care they provide.
April 2013Good medical practiceGMC – Follow up qualitative research to the 2010 Guidance SurveyFocus groups exploring in depth doctors attitudes to our guidance, particularly what would help them access our guidance more readily and any barriers to use.Negative opinions of the GMC coupled with a perceived lack of targeting limits the uptake and utility of our guidance.
April 2013Good medical practiceGeneral Medical Council - Guidance surveySurvey of doctors’ attitudes to our guidance, particularly its relevance and helpfulness.The majority of doctors view our guidance positively, but many want better communication, particularly regarding relevance to practice.
April 2013Education and trainingAssessing the impact of continuing professional development (CPD) on doctors’ performance and patient / service outcomesSemi-structured telephone interviews and in-depth reviews.Continuing professional development is more effective when integrated with appraisal, when followed by personal reflection (with time allocated for this) and when provided with organisational support to facilitate subsequent change.
February 2013Education and trainingThe Impact of the Working Time Regulations on Medical Education and TrainingMixed-methods study of the impact of the full implementation of the Working Time Regulations on doctors education and training.While the regulations are leading to fewer hours, some problems such as stress and fatigue remain. Concerns exist over rota design and the sensitivity of existing quality management to the number of hours worked.
February 2013Education and trainingIdentifying best practice in the selection of medical studentsLiterature reviews complemented by a telephone survey with UK medical admissions deans and teams from a number of medical schools.The evidence base is stronger for some methods compared to others, for example, multiple mini interviews and situational judgement tests over more traditional interviews. However, the evidence for widening access initiatives is more limited.
November 2012Good medical practiceBarriers and enablers of good practiceLiterature review.Barriers to good practice include habit, information overload and workforce pressures; enablers included a perception that guidelines are authoritative, relevant and easy to implement and the presence of good role models.
May 2012Education and trainingDeveloping an evidence base for effective quality assurance of education and trainingMixed methods approach comprising literature review, questionnaire and interviews with comparable UK and international regulatory bodies. Views were also sought from medical schools and deaneries.Quality assurance is increasingly giving greater priority to quality enhancement over accountability, proportionate risk based targeting over cyclical models and standard setting which focuses more on outcome than process.
May 2012Education and trainingInvestigating the prevalence and causes of prescribing errors in general practice: The PRACtICe studyMixed methods approach comprising retrospective case note review, depth interviews with prescribers, focus groups with members of the primary healthcare team and root cause analysis.One in 20 prescription items contain either a prescribing or monitoring error, affecting one in eight patients. The report sets out recommendations for improving the safety of prescribing.
February 2012Education and trainingResearch into perceptions of CESR/CEGPR routes to registrationA survey complemented by a small number of interviews exploring views on alternative routes of entry to the GP or Specialist Register for doctors who have not followed an approved postgraduate training programme in the UK.The overall view of the profession is that the capability of a doctor varies and this is not related to route of certification. However Certificates of Completion of Training (CCTs) are preferred over other routes.
September 2011Concerns about doctorsResearch into Fitness to Practise referrals from PAPCsMixed methods study investigating a rise in Fitness to Practise enquires to the GMC from people acting in a public capacity (PAPCs).Attitudinal change within the National Health Service, coupled with improved governance and management systems contributed to an increase in fitness to practise referrals from PAPCs.
August 2011Education and trainingThe impact of the implementation of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD)Mixed-methods approach comprising telephone depth interviews and onlineConcerns were identified that the European Working Time Directive would negatively affect training and that its implementation would need to overcome a ‘long-hours’ culture in areas of practice.
August 2011Education and trainingSpecialties, sub-specialties and progression through training: the international perspective national perspectiveLiterature review.Specialities, subspecialties and progression through training vary considerably across countries. This review provides an overview of this subject for the USA, Canada, Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
July 2011Education and trainingCPD – the international perspective Literature review.This review presents an up-to-date, detailed international perspective of continuing professional development programmes and requirements for doctor covering almost 30 countries.
April 2010Education and trainingRisk factors at medical school for subsequent professional misconduct: a multi-centre retrospective case-control studyDoctors who had enquires made about them investigated between 1999 and 2004, were compared with controls chosen at random from the same medical school graduation cohorts.Although from a small sample, findings suggest that factors such as being male, coming from a lower socio economic background, and having failed early course examinations are independent predictors of later professional misconduct.
December 2009Education and trainingAn in depth investigation into causes of prescribing errors by foundation trainees in relation to their medical education - EQUIP studyMixed-methods approach including literature reviews, an evaluation of the prevalence and nature of prescribing errors made in hospitals and interviews with foundation year one doctors and leaders of undergraduate programmes.Just under 9% of medication orders checked contained an error; however few prescribing errors caused harm to patients because almost all are intercepted and corrected before reaching them.
May 2009Good medical practiceInternational comparison of ten medical regulatory systemsDesk-based internet research complimented by key informant interviews.The study recommends that assistance to non UK-qualified medical graduates be provided to help them adapt to and understand the UK patient-centred approach to medical practice.
April 2009Good medical practiceNon UK qualified doctors and Good Medical Practice: the experience of working within a different professional frameworkMixed-methods research including a survey and interviews with doctors, interviews with individuals involved in training and support for non-UK qualified doctors and desk-based internet research.Non-UK qualified doctors have difficulty accessing information and support that would help them to apply GMC guidance in practice.
December 2008Education and trainingHow prepared are medical graduates to begin practice?Mixed-methods approach exploring and comparing the views of students and other stakeholders regarding preparedness at three medical schools.Undergraduates’ preparedness to begin the Foundation Programme is improved by increasing experiential learning in clinical practice as part of their undergraduate programme.