What does this guidance cover?

The GMC and the MSC, referred to as ‘we’ and ‘us’ in this document, have produced this guidance. It is aimed at medical school and university staff, and at placement provider organisations, who identify, manage and support students whose professionalism or fitness to practise is a cause for concern. This guidance will also be useful for anyone involved in fitness to practise investigations and hearings, and for those involved in making decisions about student fitness to practise.

Medical students are working towards joining the medical profession. Their studies will put them in contact with patients and members of the public, who may often be vulnerable.

Because of this, we expect medical students to display standards of professional behaviour that are different from those expected of other students not training to join a regulated profession. Meeting these standards is a requirement for graduation with a primary medical qualification. This guidance only applies to medical students. Once a doctor is registered their fitness to practise is monitored by the GMC.

Medical schools are responsible for giving their students opportunities to learn, understand and practise the standards we expect of them. To support this, we have produced Achieving good medical practice: guidance for medical students – a guidance document for students that outlines the standards of professional behaviour expected of them. Medical schools are reminded that fitness to practise should be just part of how they make sure their students become excellent professionals. Education and training on professionalism are also important.

When a medical student’s conduct or health becomes a cause for concern, it is essential that they get the appropriate support and guidance to continue their studies. But some concerns can’t be remedied with support, so medical schools and universities must have a process in place to identify and deal with students whose conduct or health is such that their fitness to practise may be impaired.

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