Professional behaviour and fitness to practise
Fitness to practise is a part of how medical schools help their students become excellent professionals. Medical schools and universities must have a process to identify and deal with students whose fitness to practise may be impaired.
This document gives guidance to medical schools and educators on managing processes for professionalism concerns and fitness to practise. It aims to give a consistent framework that can be adapted to local processes. Although this guidance is mainly aimed at medical schools and universities, medical students may also find it useful, to understand how their institution deals with these issues
Please note: This guidance only applies to medical students. Once a doctor is registered, we monitor their fitness to practise.
Inside Professional behaviour and fitness to practise
- The GMC’s role in promoting professionalism and fitness to practise (open at page 8)
- Considering equality and diversity issues (open at page 10)
- Fitness to practise throughout undergraduate education (open at page 12)
- When should students be given pastoral care and student support? (open at page 16)
- Considering health and disability issues (open at page 19)
- Transfer of information as students move to F1 (open at page 26)
- How should medical schools deal with concerns they receive about a student’s health or behaviour? (open at page 28)
- How should medical schools deal with low-level professionalism concerns? (open at page 30)
- Medical student fitness to practise (open at page 33)
- What do we mean by student fitness to practise? (open at page 33)
- Considering fitness to practise on the grounds of health (open at page 34)
- Reasons for impaired fitness to practise in medical students (open at page 39)
- Referring a student to fitness to practise procedures (open at page 47)
- What are the possible outcomes of an investigation? (open at page 50)
- Fitness to practise committee or panel (open at page 54)
- What are the outcomes of a fitness to practise committee or panel? (open at page 58)
- Reviewing a student’s fitness to practise following a sanction (open at page 70)
- Timescales for fitness to practise procedures (open at page 70)
- Expelling students on health grounds (open at page 71)
- Confidentiality and disclosure (open at page 74)
- Appeals committees and panels (open at page 76)
- External complaints (open at page 78)
- Appendix – example of process for managing professionalism concerns and fitness to practise issues (open at page 79)
Case studies and thought pieces to demonstrate how professional behaviour and fitness to practise can apply in real life.
We have run student competitions with the Medical Schools Council exploring why professionalism is important to medical students. Below, the shortlisted students share their sessions as teaching resources.
We asked medical schools to tell us what steps they have taken towards implementing the guidance, any difficulties, and how they had communicated it to their students. We have also put together a myth buster and FAQs to help students and medical schools understand the guidance.