GMC launches new supplementary advice for medical schools

14 February 2011

The General Medical Council has published new supplementary advice for medical schools on two important issues, clinical placements and assessments.

The advice was produced in response to requests from medical schools and will help them to prepare their students for clinical practice in the Foundation Programme.

The advice on Clinical placements for medical students sets out what students can expect from these posts, including student assistantships, where they act as an assistant to a junior doctor during their final year. It also sets out what medical schools should do when organising placements, including securing agreements with the providers setting out the arrangements and outcomes, and evaluating their effectiveness.

The advice on Assessment in undergraduate medical education sets out different methods which a medical school could use to assess medical students and gives advice to medical schools on setting standards and marking examinations.

The new advice supplements Tomorrow’s Doctors, the General Medical Council’s guidance, which sets out the requirements for the knowledge, skills and behaviours that students must learn at medical school.

Professor Jim McKillop, Chair of the GMC Undergraduate Board, said:

“It is vital that medical students gain clinical experience in a range of settings and receive proper assessments, and we hope this new advice will help medical schools to meet the standards set out in Tomorrow’s Doctors.

“There are also some very helpful examples provided by medical schools on how the standards and requirements can be applied, which other schools can learn from.”

An example given in the Clinical placements advice highlights how Sheffield medical school helps students to recognise patients with acute medical problems by organising an eight-week acute and critical clinical care attachment. Students work as part of an Accident and Emergency team, to help them to develop an understanding of how to care for patients in the first 48 hours of an acute illness.

The new advice is aimed at medical schools, trainers and others involved in medical education, but employers and medical students will also find it useful.

Those who wish to view the new supplementary advice for medical schools can do so on the GMC web site at


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