Working with doctors Working for patients

Recognition and approval of trainers

We approve GP trainers and are seeking the legal authority to approve all medical trainers.

To prepare for this, we have set up a phased process to put us in a position to begin recognising and approving trainers in four specific roles.

Milestone four is fast approaching where we need you to confirm to us that all medical trainers in the four roles outlined in our implementation plan, or entering any of the four roles, are fully recognised i.e. have met the Education Organisations’ criteria, without use of interim concessions – by 31 July 2016. 

To this end we ask that from 1 July – 31 July you submit your trainer data for ALL non GP Trainers to us via a spreadsheet which has been emailed out to you. See the Trainer Recognition Data Collection Briefing Note (pdf) for further information.

See the Milestone 3 Progress Report (pdf) for an update from Deaneries/LETBs and Medical Schools on milestone three.

See our full Implementation Plan (pdf) for more detail.

Why this is important

We recognise that high quality training is essential to patient care and have been working in partnership with Health Education England, NHS Education for Scotland, Northern Ireland Medical & Dental Training Agency, and Wales Deanery to make sure that education and training is valued and protected.

Together we have issued a position statement on the Role of the trainer (pdf). This supports and promotes the publication of guidance on training developed by the Academy of Medical Educators and by NACT UK, both commissioned by Health Education England – see notable practice and key links (below) for more detail.

We aim to protect and enhance the status of training; the new arrangements support this aim by providing a structure that will add value while involving minimal additional effort or resource for our partners.

Our arrangements for approval will be based on those already in place for the approval of GP Trainers. However, GP Trainers will still be required to go through the existing recognition and approvals process.

Difference between recognition and approval

Recognition is the local process by which Deaneries/LETBs and Medical Schools collect evidence from their named trainers on how they meet the criteria required to be a trainer. As the process for recognition is determined at a local level, these processes will vary between Deaneries/LETBs and Medical Schools.

Approval is our process whereby recognised medically-qualified trainers will be formally approved by us. The GMC only has authority to regulate doctors and as such we do not have the authority to approve non-medically-qualified trainers. However, Deaneries/LETBs and Medical Schools may find that where non-medically-qualified trainers are performing a similar role, they will require them to meet the same standards as other named trainers and will be recognised locally.

Roles requiring recognition

We have defined 4 trainer roles which will require recognition; two of which in postgraduate training and the other two in undergraduate training.

Postgraduate roles requiring recognition:

    a.    named educational supervisors

    b.    named clinical supervisors

Undergraduate roles requiring recognition:

    c.    lead coordinators of undergraduate training at each local education provider

    d.    doctors responsible for overseeing students’ educational progress for each medical school

Recognition will not be necessary for other doctors whose practice contributes to the teaching, training or supervision of students or trainee doctors. But recognition may be available to trainers not currently in the four specific roles.


All undergraduate and postgraduate trainers, in the roles listed above, will need to be fully recognised by their Deaneries/LETBs or Medical Schools by 31 July 2016.

From July 2014, all new trainers appointed to one of the four roles will need to show that they meet the local criteria for recognition before taking up their post.

As existing trainers may need time to meet the new criteria for recognition, these trainers may be recorded as ‘provisionally recognised’. Provisionally recognised trainers will have until July 2016 to provide evidence showing they meet all local criteria required for recognition

Trainers who fail to meet the required criteria by July 2016 will not be eligible for recognition and will not be able to continue acting in a recognised role.

Process for recognition and approval

Our consultation on the proposed process ran from 6 January to 30 March 2012. The outcome of the consultation (pdf) was reported to GMC Council in July 2012.

See our full Implementation Plan (pdf) for complete details of the requirements and processes for recognition and approval.

The milestones

Through the in depth consultation, we identified the following milestones for education organisers (EOs) to complete.

a.    To submit to us a timeline for implementation for trainer recognition - by 31 December 2012. 

b.    To confirm that criteria and systems are in place and ready for data entry – by 31 July 2013.

c.    To confirm that full information has been entered for all trainers in the four roles in light of the EO criteria and that the trainers have all been categorised as provisionally or fully recognised – by 31 July 2014.

d.    To confirm that all trainers in the four roles, or entering any of the four roles, are fully recognised i.e. have met the EO criteria, without use of interim concessions – by 31 July 2016.


Local education providers, such as hospitals and general practices, will provide evidence against the seven areas below to show how they identify, train and appraise trainers in each of the four categories above. EOs [i.e. postgraduate deans and medical schools] will then use that information to show us what local arrangements are in place to meet our standards and how trainers meet the seven areas mentioned in the implementation plan. Upon reviewing the evidence, we will be in a position to approve trainers.

Formal arrangements for recognising trainers will help to make sure that local education providers, postgraduate deans and medical schools are meeting our standards for the seven areas.

As an interim measure, we require Education Organisers to recognise trainers locally and provide this information to us upon request.

The standards and criteria for recognition and approval

With regards to approving all trainers, we will use our existing standards for undergraduate and postgraduate education and training in Promoting excellence: standards for medical education and training.

We have adopted the Academy of Medical Educators “Professional Standards for medical, dental and veterinary educators” (2014), as the framework for the criteria which all trainers in recognised roles will be expected to provide evidence of their ongoing professional development against. We will not be changing this even though the the framework has since been updated. These areas are as follows:

    1.    ensuring safe and effective patient care through training

    2.    establishing and maintaining an environment for learning

    3.    teaching and facilitating learning

    4.    enhancing learning through assessment

    5.    supporting and monitoring educational progress

    6.     guiding personal and professional development

    7.    continuing professional development as an educator

 Recognition and approval of trainers flowchart



Notable practice and key links

For one example of how the GMC standards have been incorporated for surgical trainers in the UK, please see the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh’s Standards for Surgical Trainers.

For additional information, please see the Milestone 3 Progress Report (pdf). This report provides a review of the information provided by Deaneries/LETBs and Medical Schools with a view to highlight and share practice.

GMC documents:

Supporting guidance:

If you would like any further information, please contact