Theme 3: Supporting learners


This theme is about making sure learners get effective educational and pastoral support, so they can demonstrate what is expected in Good medical practice and achieve the learning outcomes required by their curriculum.


Postgraduate deaneries, LETBs, and medical schools provide and manage structures and systems of support for learners. They provide appropriate support to ensure the health and wellbeing of their learners.

LEPs provide support and learning opportunities for learners, making available the facilities, staff and practical support needed to deliver the clinical parts of the curriculum or training programme.

Learners are responsible for their own learning and achieving the learning outcomes required by their curriculum. They should take part in structured support opportunities for learners. Learners must make care of patients their first concern and must not compromise safety and care of patients by their performance, health or conduct. Learners have a duty to follow the guidance in Good medical practice and must understand the consequences if they fail to do so.


S3.1 Learners receive educational and pastoral support to be able to demonstrate what is expected in Good medical practice and to achieve the learning outcomes required by their curriculum.


R3.1 Learners must be supported to meet professional standards, as set out in Good medical practice and other standards and guidance that uphold the medical profession. Learners must have a clear way to raise ethical concerns.

R3.2 Learners must have access to resources to support their health and wellbeing, and to educational and pastoral support, including:

  1. a confidential counselling services
  2. b careers advice and support
  3. c occupational health services.

Learners must be encouraged to take responsibility for looking after their own health and wellbeing.

R3.3 Learners must not be subjected to, or subject others to, behaviour that undermines their professional confidence, performance or self-esteem.

R3.4 Organisations must make reasonable adjustments for disabled learners, in line with the Equality Act 2010.1 Organisations must make sure learners have access to information about reasonable adjustments, with named contacts.

R3.5 Learners must receive information and support to help them move between different stages of education and training. The needs of disabled learners must be considered, especially when they are moving from medical school to postgraduate training, and on clinical placements.

R3.6 When learners progress from medical school to foundation training they must be supported by a period of shadowing2 that is separate from, and follows, the student assistantship. This should take place as close to the point of employment as possible, ideally in the same placement that the medical student will start work as a doctor. Shadowing should allow the learner to become familiar with their new working environment and involve tasks in which the learner can use their knowledge, skills and capabilities in the working environment they will join, including out of hours.

R3.7 Learners must receive timely and accurate information about their curriculum, assessment and clinical placements.

R3.8 Doctors in training must have information about academic opportunities in their programme or specialty and be supported to pursue an academic career if they have the appropriate skills and aptitudes and are inclined to do so.

R3.9 Medical students must have appropriate support while studying outside medical school, including on electives, and on return to the medical programme.

R3.10 Doctors in training must have access to systems and information to support less than full-time training.

R3.11 Doctors in training must have appropriate support on returning to a programme following a career break.

R3.12 Doctors in training must be able to take study leave appropriate to their curriculum or training programme, to the maximum time permitted in their terms and conditions of service.

R3.13 Learners must receive regular, constructive and meaningful feedback on their performance, development and progress at appropriate points in their medical course or training programme, and be encouraged to act on it. Feedback should come from educators, other doctors, health and social care professionals and, where possible, patients, families and carers.

R3.14 Learners whose progress, performance, health or conduct gives rise to concerns must be supported where reasonable to overcome these concerns and, if needed, given advice on alternative career options.

R3.15 Learners must not progress if they fail to meet the required learning outcomes for graduates or approved postgraduate curricula.

R3.16 Medical students who are not able to complete a medical qualification or to achieve the learning outcomes required for graduates must be given advice on alternative career options, including pathways to gain a qualification if this is appropriate. Doctors in training who are not able to complete their training pathway should be given career advice.


1 The Equality Act 2010 does not apply to Northern Ireland. The Equality Act 2010 is in force in the rest of the UK, but the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Special Educational Needs and Disability (NI) Order 2005 remain in force in Northern Ireland.

2 Shadowing is coordinated and arranged across the UK as part of the transition from medical school to the Foundation Programme.