What is the process for approving a GMC credential?

We will approve and quality assure GMC credentials against our standards for medical education and training. We are using the early adopter credentials to refine our approvals processes and make sure they work effectively for credentials and provide appropriate assurance for patients, doctors and employers.

The process will incorporate our approach to the approval of postgraduate curricula, including a review against our standards in Excellence by design. These require curricula to identify and explain how key areas of patient and population needs, patient safety and relevant risk are identified, defined and addressed, with a focus on safety-critical content, clarity on expected levels of performance and the necessary breadth of experience needed for safe professional practice.

This will be supplemented by additional considerations of feasibility and deliverability where

proposals might sit outside of established structures for the delivery, sign-off and quality assurance of postgraduate training.

These processes will be informed by input from key stakeholders, including the four UK departments of health and the statutory education bodies, and those responsible for delivery of training. We will also seek advice from independent GMC associates.

The final decision to approve a credential will be made by the GMC.

Where will the funding for credentials come from?

The four UK governments recognise that the credentialing process will contribute to developing and supporting a continually evolving service. This flexible approach will support doctors in adapting to the future needs of patients while maintaining consistent standards across the UK. Those who plan services will be able to use credentials to introduce development opportunities for their medical workforce that are responsive to patient needs and help to better address service gaps.

All four UK nations are firmly committed to ensuring there are equitable and proportionate funding arrangements underpinning credentials where they have been commissioned or funded to develop and secure services. As such, individual doctors, if successful in securing access to a credential programme, can be confident that appropriate funding arrangements have been put in place.

Where the credential is for work in the private sector, it is anticipated that there will be a different funding model and we are exploring this through our work on cosmetic surgery.

The GMC will assess our own costs as part of the early adopter process, and consider what fees, if any, may be required in future.

How have stakeholder views been considered in developing credentialing?

Throughout the development of credentialing, we've spoken to a wide range of relevant interested parties and organisations, including:

  • representatives of the four UK governments
  • medical colleges and faculties
  • postgraduate deans
  • SAS doctors
  • doctors in training
  • consultants
  • and patient representatives.

We carried out a public consultation in 2015, and a further wide-ranging engagement exercise in 2018-19 while developing our 2019 framework. Full details on our engagement and feedback can be found in our credentialing web pages. Since 2019 we have engaged with a full range of stakeholders in task and finish groups which looked at the early adopter submissions and engaged on our developing policy and processes. We continue to engage with key groups on policy development as we prepare for implementation of the early adopters.

In addition, when developing a curriculum for a credential, organisations will have to show explicitly how they have consulted key groups in all four nations, such as:

  • relevant patient/population groups
  • the profession including consultants, SAS doctors and doctors in training
  • experts in the field.

When will GMC credentials be introduced?

We are running a phased implementation for GMC credentials, working with five early adopters since late 2019. We will continue to learn and refine our processes and once these initial credentials have gone through our approvals process and as we start to deliver them.