GMC seeks views on skills needed by newly-qualified doctors

The General Medical Council (GMC) has today (Weds 4 October) launched a consultation on the knowledge, skills and professional behaviours needed by newly-qualified doctors in order to help shape the future development of undergraduate medical education.

The GMC’s Outcomes for graduates – what doctors must know and be able to do by the time they graduate from medical school – have been updated to better reflect modern medical education and practice.

"The outcomes are forward looking, to equip the doctors of tomorrow with the knowledge and skills they need to engage with emerging areas of healthcare such as genomics and population health."

Dr Colin Melville

GMC Director of Education and Standards

Doctors will be expected to have an understanding of areas such as population health and managing the care of patients with multiple diseases, complex areas of practice such as consent, confidentiality and safeguarding, and an appreciation of the needs of patients from diverse backgrounds.

There are also new outcomes stressing the importance of doctors’ personal wellbeing, helping them to incorporate self-care into their personal and professional lives.

Outcomes proposed for inclusion in medical school curricula emphasise the importance of new doctors:

  • working in partnership with patients, families and carers;
  • raising and acting on issues of patient safety;
  • and understanding their responsibility to safeguard vulnerable patients.

Dr Colin Melville, the GMC’s Director of Education and Standards, said:

‘Medical schools play a unique role in the development of the UK’s medical profession. We want to help them make sure their curricula continue to produce newly-qualified doctors who can respond confidently to any pressures and challenges they may face from their first day of practice.

‘The outcomes are forward looking, to equip the doctors of tomorrow with the knowledge and skills they need to engage with emerging areas of healthcare such as genomics and population health.

‘Some of the outcomes we propose also reflect the shifts we have seen in medicine in recent years – such as the need for doctors to work more collaboratively with patients to plan their care, which is likely to involve treatment for a range of complex and related conditions.’

The outcomes set by the GMC bring a measure of consistency to undergraduate medical education, although medical schools have the freedom to design and deliver their own curricula for students.

The Outcomes for graduates will also be integral to the future development of the GMC’s Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA), which would provide assurance that doctors working in the UK have met a common threshold.

The GMC held a consultation on its MLA proposals earlier this year. A consultation report published by the GMC indicated broad support for the concept of the assessment, as well as some concerns about its implementation.

The GMC is currently considering responses to the consultation, and will announce next steps later this year.

Dr Melville continued:

‘This is a critical time for reforms across medical education, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Our work on developing the MLA is continuing, but it is vital that the UK educates, trains and assesses our future doctors in a way that helps them meet the demands of a healthcare environment that is changing rapidly.’

The GMC’s review of existing outcomes for graduates has received input from all four UK countries including educators, doctors in training and lay people, and including representatives of the Medical Schools Council along with experts in law, diversity and communication, and doctors with both primary and secondary care backgrounds.

The consultation runs until 10 January 2018. You can read the proposed updated Outcomes for graduates and give feedback as part of the consultation here.