How we use your fee
Managing the organisation
We have more than 1,200 staff working across five locations in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. We have a number of teams who make sure that changes to the way we work are well evidenced, fair and communicated to the profession. In 2018 we worked more efficiently, bringing our running costs down.
We also have a dedicated data team, who help us and other organisations to better understand the issues that doctors face, and emerging risks and opportunities for safe medical practice in all four countries of the UK.
Overseeing the quality of doctors’ education and training
We set the standards for, and check the quality of, undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and training.
Our quality assurance process helps us to make sure our standards are met by organisations that manage and deliver including medical schools and local education providers. Our Council also approves all institutions that can award a UK primary medical qualification.
In 2018 we increased our investment in doctor’s education and training. We carried out 33 visits to organisations that provide or manage medical education and training to check that they meet our standards. We found standards were being met or exceeded in 67 areas.
Managing complaints about doctors
When anyone raises a concern with us about a doctor, we assess this to see if the doctor is putting the safety of patients, or the public’s confidence in doctors, at risk. In 2018 we reviewed a total of 8,573 concerns about doctors.
This involves collecting and reviewing evidence, such as witness statements and reports from experts. Last year we significantly reduced the amount spent on investigating concerns by considering additional information at an earlier stage. This means we can filter out those we don’t need to fully investigate.
However, to really modernise the way that we carry out investigations, we need a change to the law to give us more discretion and flexibility.
Revalidation and managing the medical register
We check every doctor’s identity and qualifications before we let them join the medical register.
In 2018 we made a significant investment in our processes for registering new doctors, and made decisions on 99% of revalidation recommendations within five working days.
Revalidation supports doctors’ professional development and helps to make sure they remain fit to practise throughout their career, by encouraging them to reflect on their practice.
We continue to work with the medical colleges and employers to make appraisal and revalidation more straightforward for doctors.
Supporting doctors with their practice
Our standards define what makes a good doctor by setting out the professional values, knowledge, skills and behaviours required of all doctors working in the UK. In 2018 we increased our investment in supporting doctors, to help drive improvements in care and prevent harm to patients.
The core professional standards expected of all doctors are set out in our guidance, Good medical practice. We want to do everything we can to make sure our guidance is widely known, accessible, understood, and applied by doctors in their day-to-day practise.
In 2018, our Regional Liaison Service (RLS) and our offices in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales continued to play a key part in raising awareness and understanding of our standards.
And our Standards’ team answered over 480 enquiries from doctors, helping them to deal with the ethical challenges they face.