GMC considers tougher med schools regime
11 February 2013
Medical schools could face new sanctions if they fail to meet quality standards under plans being considered by the GMC.
The regulator is reviewing its quality assurance role in medical education and training.
A progress report considered by the GMC council last month points out that the regulator has never used the ‘nuclear options’ of refusing or withdrawing its recognition of a medical school.
‘This suggests we need a wider range of powers, falling short of nuclear options. A full suite of sanctions should be available for both undergraduate and postgraduate quality assurance,’ the report states.
It says this could include more frequent or intensive scrutiny of organisations, and formal warnings that organisations are at risk of conditions being imposed or approval being withdrawn if matters do not improve by a certain date.
The regulator agreed to publish details of valid concerns about medical schools, including action plans, GMC monitoring, and updates when concerns have been resolved.
BMA medical students committee joint deputy chair Melody Redman said: ‘It is important that medical schools provide courses of good quality, especially with rising expectations from students who are paying extravagant fees.’
Ms Redman added: ‘It is vital that medical schools are supported appropriately if they are required to improve on any aspect, and measures of quality should be monitored and evaluated.
‘Transparency is crucial, and it is positive that the GMC seems aware of this.
We look forward to hearing the conclusions of the report.’
The GMC also plans to develop and pilot ‘medical education risk profiles’ to identify concerns about schools and programmes earlier.
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: ‘One of the areas we are particular keen on is to be transparent about the data we are producing.’
BMA medical academic staff committee co-chair Peter Dangerfield said he was pleased the GMC had heeded MASC calls for the regulator to make more use of its powers to put pressure on providers not meeting required standards.
He added that institutions being reviewed must guarantee ‘adequate staffing levels to ensure … comprehensive delivery of all aspects of a highly demanding course’.
The review is due to report by the end of this year.