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Development of generic professional capabilities

We began our review in 2012 and published the new Generic professional capabilities framework and accompanying implementation guidance in May 2017.

We worked jointly with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (Academy) to help medical royal colleges and faculties embed generic professional capabilities into all postgraduate medical curricula.

The Generic professional capabilities framework describes how postgraduate curricula should include training in broader skills crucial to safe and effective patient care, such as communication, leadership and patient safety.

The Generic professional capabilities: guidance on implementation for colleges and faculties, produced by the Academy in conjunction with us, provides advice for colleges and faculties on how to integrate generic professional capabilities into their curricula.

What was the review about?

We identified a need to develop a consistent approach that embeds common generic outcomes and content across all postgraduate medical curricula, taking the following into account.

  • Each of the 66 medical specialties and 32 sub-specialties in the UK has its own distinct postgraduate medical training curriculum set by the medical colleges or faculties. There was significant variability of core professional content across many of the curricula.
  • Our fitness to practise data showed that most concerns about doctors’ performance fall into one or more of the nine domains we went on to identify in this Generic professional capabilities framework.
  • Several high profile patient safety inquiries have identified major deficits in these basic areas of professional practice.
  • The Shape of Training review in 2013 recognised the importance of developing a Generic professional capabilities framework.

What took place in the review?

In 2012 we gathered a forum of key interest groups. The forum felt that postgraduate curricula had very little focus on developing generic professional capabilities. They proposed that the development of these capabilities should be integrated into postgraduate training, addressing both general clinical and professional domains.

We worked with the Academy to develop a framework for generic professional capabilities. Throughout 2014 we tested ideas for the framework through an informal discussion group, which involved experts in undergraduate and postgraduate curricula, assessment, patient and public involvement, quality improvement, medical leadership, and Human Factors and ergonomics.

Our public consultation ran from 1 July to 27 September 2015. The consultation outcome showed very strong support for the framework with 97% of respondents in agreement that generic professional capabilities are fundamentally important to UK medical practice. GMC Council approved the Generic professional capabilities framework in February 2016.

Implementation guidance

During 2016 and 2017 we worked with the Academy on developing guidance and materials to help colleges and faculties embed the Generic professional capabilities framework into postgraduate curricula.