Assuring quality in medical education
The General Medical Council (GMC) protects the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine. We do this by setting and regulating professional standards not only for qualified doctors’ practice, but also for undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and training.
A number of organisations are involved in managing and improving the quality of medical education and training. The Quality Improvement Framework (QIF) help us to move towards a more flexible and responsive approach. The QIF sets out how the GMC will quality assure medical education and training in the UK from 2011-2012, and how we will work with other organisations working in this area such as medical schools and postgraduate deaneries.
How the GMC quality assures medical education and training
There are four core elements to our quality assurance activity:
Levels of quality assurance
There are three levels of quality activity: quality assurance, quality management and quality control.
Quality assurance is the overarching activity under which both quality management and quality control sit. It includes all the policies, standards, systems and processes that are in place to maintain and improve the quality of medical education and training in the UK. This is the responsibility of the GMC and is based on our statutory remit.
Quality management is the responsibility of medical schools and postgraduate deaneries. It refers to the processes through which these bodies ensure that the training their medical students and trainee doctors are receiving from local education providers (LEPs), such as NHS trusts, meets the GMC’s standards.
LEPs are in turn responsible for quality control, ie ensuring that the education they are providing meets local, national and professional standards.
Reviewing our approach to quality assurance
In line with our Education Strategy 2011-2013 (pdf), the GMC is undertaking a comprehensive review of its approach to quality assuring medical education and training. The review began in early 2012 and will conclude towards the end of 2013.