Clinical governance

Clinical governance is the system through which National Health Service (NHS) organisations are accountable for continuously monitoring and improving the quality of their care and services, and for safeguarding the high standard of care and services.

Doctor in training

This is the GMC’s preferred term for a doctor participating in an approved postgraduate training programme (Foundation Programme or specialty including general practice training).

Education organisers

Education organisers are postgraduate deans and medical schools who are responsible for recognising trainers in four specific roles, in accordance with our requirements for recognising and approving trainers. Education organisers work together to recognise trainers where there is overlap between the groups of trainers.

Educational governance

Educational governance is the systems and standards through which organisations control their educational activities and demonstrate accountability for and the continuous improvement of the quality of education.

Educational governance may be part of a wider, integrated governance framework comprising elements such as clinical audit, risk management and organisational development, which fall within the responsibility of other regulators, and are outside the direct scope of these standards. However, an indicator of how effective educational governance is could be how well integrated these elements are within the overall governance of the organisation.


Individuals with a role in teaching, training, assessing and supervising learners. This includes:

  1. a individuals in a recognised and approved trainer role
  2. b other doctors or healthcare professionals involved in education and training in the course of their daily clinical or medical practice
  3. c academic staff from a range of disciplines with a role in education and training.

Educators may also include patients and members of the public who have roles in medical teaching or training, and other people whose knowledge, experience or expertise is used in teaching or training.

Lead coordinators at each LEP

One or more doctors at each LEP who are responsible for coordinating the training of medical students, supervising their activities and making sure these activities are of educational value.

All lead coordinators at each LEP must be recognised by their medical school by 31 July 2016.


Learners are medical students receiving education leading to a primary medical qualification and doctors in postgraduate training leading to a certificate of completion of training (CCT). Doctors and students undertaking other forms of training and education, such as a fellowship, will also be learning, but are not covered by these standards for medical education and training. These standards do not cover continuing professional development that all doctors across the UK do to keep their knowledge and skills up to date throughout their working life.

Learning outcomes

The competences that a learner must acquire by the end of a period of education or training. The learning outcomes required of medical students when they graduate are set by the GMC.

Local education and training boards (LETBs)

In England, the roles of the postgraduate dean and deanery sit within LETBs.

Local education providers (LEPs)

LEPs are the organisations responsible for the learning environment and culture (usually clinical) in which training is taking place, whether in primary, secondary, community or academic placements. LEPs include health boards, NHS trusts, independent sector organisations and any other service providers that host and employ medical students and doctors in training.

Medical trainer

A medical trainer is an appropriately trained and experienced doctor who is responsible for educating and training medical students or doctors in training within an environment of medical practice.

Four medical trainer roles are performed only by recognised or approved trainers who are registered doctors holding a licence to practise. The arrangements do not cover other doctors whose practice contributes to teaching, training, assessing or supervising medical students or doctors in training, but whose role does not need to be formally recognised.

Named clinical supervisor

A named clinical supervisor is a trainer who is responsible for overseeing a specific doctor in training’s clinical work throughout a placement in a clinical or medical environment and is appropriately trained to do so. The named clinical supervisor leads on providing a review of the doctor in training’s clinical or medical practice throughout a placement, and contributes to the educational supervisor’s report on whether the doctor should progress to the next stage of their training.

All named clinical supervisors must be recognised by their postgraduate dean by 31 July 2016.

Named educational supervisor

A named educational supervisor is a trainer who is selected and appropriately trained to be responsible for the overall supervision and management of a specific doctor’s educational progress during a placement or a series of placements. The named educational supervisor regularly meets with the doctor in training to help plan their training, review progress and achieve agreed learning outcomes. The named educational supervisor is responsible for the educational agreement, and for bringing together all relevant evidence to form a summative judgement about the doctor’s progression at the end of a placement or a series of placements.

All named educational supervisors must be recognised by their postgraduate dean by 31 July 2016.


Organisations that manage or deliver medical education or training to learners, usually medical schools, postgraduate deaneries or LETBs, LEPs and colleges, faculties and specialty associations. These organisations must meet our standards for medical education and training.

Overseeing students’ progress

One or more doctors at a medical school who are responsible for overseeing students’ progression. They might be NHS consultants or clinical academics acting as block or course coordinators.

Those responsible for overseeing students’ progress at each medical school must be recognised by their medical school by 31 July 2016.


A structured period of experience and learning in a particular specialty or area of practice in a health or social care setting.

Postgraduate dean

In England, the roles of the postgraduate dean and deanery sit within LETBs. In Northern Ireland, these roles are held by the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency. In Scotland, the postgraduate deans and the Scotland Deanery are part of NHS Education for Scotland. In Wales, the postgraduate dean is part of the Wales Deanery (School of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education), Cardiff University. These are the UK bodies that the GMC has authorised to manage approved training programmes and the training posts within them according to GMC standards.

Primary medical qualification

In relation to UK graduates, a first medical degree awarded by a body or combination of bodies that is recognised by the GMC for this purpose, or that was empowered to issue primary medical qualifications at the time the degree was awarded.

Recognised trainers

Medical trainers formally recognised by postgraduate deans and medical schools according to our requirements for recognising and approving medical trainers in four specific roles.

Our statutory role to approve general practice trainers remains in place.


A medical student is an undergraduate receiving training or learning from a trainer, and who is working towards an undergraduate medical degree, even if they already hold a non-medical degree. Students are not registered with the GMC and cannot perform activities legally restricted to registered doctors with a licence to practise.

Training programme

A formal alignment or rotation of posts that together comprise a programme of postgraduate training in a given specialty or subspecialty. A programme may deliver the full curriculum through linked stages to a CCT, or the programme may deliver different component elements of the approved curriculum.