Recommendation 161

Training visits to contribute patient safety

Training visits should make an important contribution to the protection of patients:

  • Obtaining information directly from trainees should remain a valuable source of information – but it should not be the only source of information used
  • Visits to, and observation of, the actual training environment would enable visitors to detect poor practice from which both patients and trainees should be sheltered.
  • The opportunity can be taken to share and disseminate good practice with trainees and management.

Visits of this nature will encourage the transparency that is so vital to the preservation of minimum standards.

The General Medical Council has made it clear that it views visits as an important tool within its quality assurance programme for assuring high quality training and protection of patients.  The General Medical Council taken a policy decision to publish information on validated concerns about an educational setting on its website, and will implement this more transparent approach in late 2013 or early 2014.  The General Medical Council’s review of quality assurance in education is considering how to strengthen the role of visits and how the General Medical Council reports on them. The General Medical Council will share its proposals in the first half of 2014.


At the end of March 2014, the General Medical Council began publishing on its website information about validated education concerns that are subject to enhanced monitoring by the General Medical Council. Cases subject to enhanced monitoring relate by the General Medical Council. Cases subject to enhanced monitoring relate to patient safety or quality of education issues in a local education provider and can come from a variety of sources (visits, routine monitoring, Deanery Reports). The aim of publishing this information is to increase the transparency of our monitoring process. A quarterly publishing system is now in place.

This recommendation was considered as part of the General Medical Council’s Review of Quality Assurance of Medical Education and Training. The final report of the review includes a recommendation that reports should give greater attention to the transparency and accessibility of information for patients and the public, students and trainees. As part of the action plan to strengthen the role of visits the General Medical Council:

  • have introduced a document register section at the end of each visit report to detail which evidence documentation has been used and how it has contributed to the findings
  • have developed a 5 year visits schedule.
  • will pilot the General Medical Council inspection teams to observe the environment in which clinical teaching occurs.