Reports and Evidence

Sources of evidence

We define the minimum datasets for the evidence we collect from medical schools, postgraduate bodies, and Medical royal colleges and faculties in pursuit of our statutory regulatory functions and responsibilities. Evidence sources include:

  1. (a) reports and action plans from medical schools and postgraduate deans
  2. (b) annual specialty reports from medical royal colleges and faculties
  3. (c) data from approval of posts, programmes, trainers, curricula and assessment systems
  4. (d) reports of visits
  5. (e) updates on requirements and recommendations from prior visits
  6. (f) GMC surveys
  7. (g) intelligence from other GMC sources (e.g. our fitness to practice, revalidation, and engagement functions)
  8. (h) research projects that we conduct or commission i.e. differential attainment
  9. (i) external surveys
  10. (j) data on the outcomes of training programmes such as Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) and exam results, mapped to demographic information to include information on differential attainment
  11. (k) reports from organisations to which postgraduate bodies are accountable (namely NHS England, NHS Education Scotland, Welsh Assembly Government, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety of Northern Ireland)
  12. (l) other audit and quality assurance bodies such as the Care Quality Commission, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Health Inspectorate Wales, Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Quality Assurance Agency.

Reports from medical schools and postgraduate deans to the GMC

All medical schools, and postgraduate bodies are required to submit reports and updates to us according to defined structure and intervals.

Reports from both medical schools and postgraduate deans should include updates on outcomes of our visit sand enhanced monitoring cases. These reports should aim to give us assurance that the quality management processes and quality control in place locally meet our standards. Deans must be able to provide evidence to support their action plans if we request it.

The reports should confirm that all medical schools and postgraduate bodies take prompt and effective action (where appropriate) in response to all quality activity. Through their quality management responsibilities, medical schools and postgraduate bodies should be aware of the issues affecting medical education and training for their students and doctors in postgraduate training and ensure that their actions ensure safe training and are proportionate, measured and evaluated.

Postgraduate bodies need to work with medical schools and the Royal Colleges and Faculties to share appropriate information and promote high standards of professional education and training.

Wherever possible, we aim to coordinate efforts for data collection with other partner organisations.

Annual specialty reports

We receive systematic information from royal colleges and faculties in the form of annual specialty reports (ASRs). These reports provide an essential specialty perspective and a national overview.

A pro forma is provided to assist medical royal colleges and faculties to structure their reports.
The reports should focus on analysis of information related to:

  • national postgraduate examinations
  • college or faculty input into local quality management systems
  • analysis of programme specific questions from GMC surveys or other surveys
  • other data collected and used by the college/faculty for the purposes of quality management
  • development of curricula and assessment systems
  • monitoring of the progress of doctors in training through to recommendation of CCT or equivalent.

The report should identify what the college or faculty consider to be good practice, concerns, and trends attributed to the postgraduate bodies, LEP, and specialty programme.

Royal colleges and faculties need to work with postgraduate bodies to share appropriate information and promote quality improvement.


Our national training surveys reveal perceptions of training from both trainer and doctor in training by country, postgraduate bodies, local education provider, training level, and graduating medical school. The findings of the surveys may require action by postgraduate bodies, which we will monitor through reporting, results of future surveys, and other QA activity such as enhanced monitoring.

The national survey of doctors in training is a well-established, trusted and effective screening tool for identifying where there may be issues to address in the training environment. It is the only source of evidence that includes the views of the entire body of doctors in training, and allows comparison at a UK-wide level. However survey results come with a number of caveats:

  1. (a) The survey is a point-in-time snapshot of respondent’s perceptions. While the survey is designed to allow us to make inferences about the quality of a training post, these may be time-bound
  2. (b) Survey outcomes are the results of respondent’s perceptions only
  3. (c) Medical education and training differs significantly between specialties. The survey is necessarily generic and represents a broad approach to screening.

We recommend that postgraduate bodies should consider a range of evidence and not rely solely on survey results.

We also conduct a survey of educational and clinical supervisors in the UK, including those who train medical students, foundation doctors and doctors in specialty training. The national survey of trainers aims to collect evidence on whether trainers are able to undertake their duties as trainers effectively, how these duties are formally recognised in job plans and training, and how supported trainers feel in their role. Trainers are considered to be experienced practitioners who are involved in training and supervision in the workplace.

Survey reports are shared through data packs with postgraduate bodies, royal colleges and faculties; outcomes of the surveys are published and available online. Although we aim to promote longitudinal analysis of survey results, we may make changes from time to time.