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UK General Medical Council: Producing the 2012 report on medical education and practice in the UK

In 2011, for the first time, the General Medical Council (GMC) brought together its data in a report on the state of medical education and practice. The report received extensive media coverage and stakeholder support, and contributed positively to the GMC’s aim of becoming a more proactive regulator.

In their 2012 report the GMC needed to be able to demonstrate progress while adding fresh insights and moving from descriptive to more complex analysis.

Given PA’s experience in  successfully supporting last year’s report, as well as its knowledge and experience in producing similar reports (such as the  Temple review, Time for Training, published on behalf of Medical Education England, Maternity Matters for the Department of Health, and  High Quality Women’s Healthcare for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists),  the GMC asked PA to once again work in partnership with them on the development and project management of their 2012 report.

A joint PA and GMC team was put together to manage content development, analyse and scrutinise data and produce the report. This included managing the review of the report from over 30 senior stakeholders, as well as producing launch materials to support the report’s publication and promotion.

Key to our approach has been to work in partnership with the GMC to develop their capacity in producing high quality reports, including putting in place systematic and clear processes to aid identification and analysis of data, and the development of key messages and findings. Going forward, this will help the GMC in producing future reports. It will also help the GMC in looking at its data in new ways to support ongoing discussions with partners involved in improving patient safety.

Summary of the 2012 report

The state of medical education and practice in the UK: 2012  reflects on changes in the medical profession in the last year. These include a growing diversification of the medical workforce, and a continuing rise in complaints about doctors to the GMC, with a 23% increase in complaints from 2010 to 2011.

The report also explores some of the barriers and enablers to good medical practice, including how environmental factors like organisational size, culture and working patterns can affect doctors’ training and performance. In response, the report sets out four areas for further debate and action. These include: the need for more flexibility within medical careers to accommodate the changing needs of doctors in training, patients and healthcare providers; commissioning research to understand what factors might be driving an increase in complaints; and launching a targeted helpline that will support doctors in raising concerns about patient safety where they believe they could be victimised if they raised concerns locally.

"PA’s support has been key, they worked closely with the staff organisation throughout to build engagement and consensus, and brought helpful insights and challenges that enabled us to develop the report’s content.” 

Luke Bruce, Assistant Director of Strategy and Communications

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