Disabled doctors to get increased support thanks to new GMC guidance

Disabled doctors and medical students can expect greater support to pursue their careers, following new guidance published today (Tuesday 14 May) by the General Medical Council (GMC).

The regulator has advised medical schools and training providers of the steps they should put in place to make sure all students and trainee doctors, including those with disabilities, are able fulfil their potential.

The steps, outlined in the GMC’s Welcomed and valued guidance, include allocating specific contacts, agreeing confidentiality arrangements and creating action plans to make sure they can meet the demands of their courses or training.

The guidance also includes a summary of relevant legislation, and advice for educators on how to make reasonable adjustments to support students and trainees through medical school, clinical placements and work settings.

Professor Colin Melville, the General Medical Council’s Medical Director and Director of Education and Standards, said:

‘There are already many disabled doctors who are making great contributions to healthcare across the UK, but there are often inconsistencies in the support they receive while they are training and learning.

‘We want those inconsistencies to end, and for all trainee doctors and medical students to be given the tools and the flexibility they need to fulfil their potential and to have successful careers in medicine.

‘Our new guidance will help address that, by providing practical advice for medical schools and training locations about what they can do to make sure students and doctors with disabilities are supported.’

"There are already many disabled doctors who are making great contributions to healthcare across the UK, but there are often inconsistencies in the support they receive while they are training and learning."

Professor Colin Melville

Medical Director and Director of Education and Standards

Dr Hannah Barham-Brown, a disabled doctor who helped advise the GMC on the new guidance, said:

‘As a profession, it is vital that we reflect the diversity of the patients we care for, and so disabled doctors and medical students need to be well supported throughout their training. We are an asset to the NHS, and should be treated as such.

‘This guidance is a welcome and vital step towards better accessibility to the profession. Medicine is a hard career without having to worry about how medical schools and colleagues will address your disability, so the GMC producing this work in conjunction with so many of us is hugely appreciated and has the potential to make much-needed change.’

The new guidance builds on the GMC’s previous ‘Gateways to professions’ guidance, and follows independent research and an extensive consultation with doctors, students, educators and the public.

Read our new guidance ‘Welcomed and Valued: Supporting disabled learners in medical education and training’.