Our role in medical education and training
The purpose of the GMC is to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine.
To achieve this, one of our core legal functions is to regulate medical education and training so that patients now and in the future can be confident that they will receive safe, high quality medical care. We set standards and requirements that must be met on the ground; and check that they really are met, through quality assurance activity.
All stages of medical education and training
Our education work was significantly strengthened in April 2010 when the GMC took on responsibility for all stages of medical education and training. For the first time in the UK, a single regulator oversees every stage of doctors’ training and professional development, including:
Medical students typically study for five years. After they graduate they start to work in the NHS and enter a two-year Foundation Programme. After that, they choose to train in the NHS either for another three years to become a GP or longer to become a specialist consultant.
We decide whether schools are entitled to issue medical degrees. To do this, we set requirements on what we expect of new graduates and also standards that medical schools must meet in teaching and assessing medical students.
Our requirements for undergraduate education are set out in Tomorrow’s Doctors.
We test whether or not schools meet these requirements through quality assurance activity. We arrange for experts to visit the schools, inspect what goes on and discuss local arrangements.
We publish what we find out on our website. The medical schools also provide information to us in annual reports, and we receive information from other areas of GMC work and other regulators. We also respond to concerns raised by students, medical schools, or patients, and arrange additional checks of schools if there is evidence that requires investigation.
Postgraduate education and training
We decide whether or not to approve curricula and assessment systems, training programmes, GP trainers, and posts held by trainees.
To do this, we set requirements for postgraduate medical education and training and test whether or not these requirements are being met through our quality assurance activity.
We arrange for experts to visit the deaneries, inspect what goes on, and discuss local arrangements. We publish what we find out on our website. We also consider reports from the postgraduate deaneries that organise training and the medical Royal Colleges that set curricula and organise examinations.
We survey trainees and trainers, and receive information from other regulators. We also respond to concerns raised by trainees, deaneries, local education providers, or patients, and arrange additional checks of deaneries if there is evidence that requires investigation
Continuing Professional Development
Doctors have a responsibility to keep up to date. We publish Guidance on Continuing Professional Development which sets out the principles on which continuing professional development should be based, and the roles of the relevant organisations involved in its delivery and quality assurance.