Outcomes for graduates


Purpose of the outcomes

We set the standards and requirements for all stages of medical education and training in Promoting excellence: standards for medical education and training. And we hold a list of universities entitled to award a medical degree recognised as a UK primary medical qualification.

This document sets out what newly qualified doctors from all medical schools who award UK primary medical qualifications must know and be able to do and it is:

  • a guide for students on what they need to learn during their time at medical school
  • a basis for medical schools to develop their curricula and programmes of learning
  • a blueprint or plan for assessments at medical schools
  • a framework we use to regulate medical schools
  • a summary of what newly qualified doctors will know and be able to do for those designing postgraduate

We recognise and expect that newly qualified doctors will have achieved the capabilities described in the Outcomes for graduates. But we acknowledge that they will need ongoing practical experience to develop and consolidate their skills and capabilities during foundation training.

It's important to remember that newly qualified doctors who enter the Foundation Programme will work under educational and clinical supervision and in a multidisciplinary team. In accordance with the Foundation Programme Curriculum, they will need to demonstrate that they are refining their skills and that they are able to take responsibility appropriately whilst recognising and working within the limits of their competence.

Why we've updated the outcomes

Developments in the organisation of care and patterns of disease since Outcomes for graduates was first published in 2009 mean that there is an increased need for newly qualified doctors to:

  • be able to care for patients in a variety of settings, including the patient's home and community settings as well as general practices and hospitals
  • be able to care for growing numbers of patients with multiple morbidities and long term physical and mental health conditions
  • be able to provide integrated care, including mental health care, with social care
  • be able to apply principles of health promotion and disease prevention at population level to the care of individual patients
  • commit to lifelong learning to keep up to date with developments in medical practice and trends in disease at population level.

Provisions for encouraging diversity in medicine (introduction)

We believe that equality, diversity and inclusion are integral to our work as a regulator. We are committed to supporting diversity in medicine.

We expect organisations to make supportive and pragmatic adjustments for learners to enable achievement of the outcomes, including where learners have long-term health conditions and disabilities, while also abiding by the Equality Act. Further detailed information can be found in our publications Welcomed and valued (2019), Promoting excellence (2016) and Promoting excellence - equality and diversity considerations (2017).

How the outcomes relate to our other standards and guidance (introduction)

Promoting excellence sets out the standards and requirements for the management and delivery of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and training. The Outcomes for graduates set out what we expect newly qualified doctors to be able to know and do and should be read alongside Promoting excellence.

We expect all newly qualified doctors to practise in accordance with the professional requirements set out in Good medical practice and related guidance. The outcomes have been aligned to Good medical practice.

How the outcomes relate to our Generic professional capabilities framework

The Generic professional capabilities framework, published in May 2017, describes the interdependent essential capabilities that underpin professional medical practice in the UK and sets these out as educational outcomes. We expect the generic professional capabilities to be integrated into the Foundation Programme Curriculum and all postgraduate specialty training curricula.

We have reflected the capabilities and educational outcomes in this document so there is a recognisable progression through undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and training.

The structure of the outcomes reflects the Generic professional capabilities framework. The three sections of the outcomes match the three fundamental domains of the Generic professional capabilities framework. The outcomes also include sections that map to the targeted domains in the Generic professional capabilities framework.

Some outcomes in this document are similar to those in the Generic professional capabilities framework. This is because we expect newly qualified doctors and doctors in postgraduate training to demonstrate knowledge and capability in the same areas, but at the level appropriate for the stage of their training.

Newly qualified doctors will build on and develop their knowledge and capabilities as they move through the Foundation Programme and speciality training. These postgraduate curricula will be underpinned by the educational outcomes set out in the Generic professional capabilities framework, some of which are common to the outcomes in this document and some of which are necessarily pitched at a higher level.

Responsibility for delivering the outcomes

Making sure the Outcomes for graduates are met

Medical schools must provide us with evidence to show that medical students' learning is directed towards the outcomes and that students' progress towards meeting the outcomes at graduation is assessed. This evidence must include medical schools - curricula - which we expect to be mapped to the outcomes - and assessment blueprints - which we expect to show when and how students are assessed on their learning against the outcomes.

Assessment could include formal written and clinical examinations, workplace based assessments, evidence of their development as reflective practitioners, essays, research projects, presentations, self assessment or coursework.

We will take action if we are not satisfied that the curriculum and assessments at a medical school are resulting in graduates being able to meet the outcomes. We'll do this in accordance with our quality assurance framework, by requiring the medical school to make changes so the outcomes are met. We will monitor the medical school until we have satisfactory evidence. We may also make regulatory visits to medical schools.

Keeping the outcomes up to date

Medical education responds continually to changes in the health of the population and healthcare systems. And it has to keep up with developments in the technologies used to diagnose, treat and manage illness. Medical education must also adapt to the needs of society and be appropriately responsive to patients and the public.

We'll keep these outcomes up to date with timely revisions to make sure they reflect contemporary medical practice and science.