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Quality assurance of the training system

The General Medical Council (GMC) has overall responsibility for the quality assurance of medical education and training in the UK, as outlined in its Quality Improvement Framework (QIF), but it delegates some responsibility in this respect to the postgraduate medical deaneries and/or Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs) and their schools of surgery, the Joint Committee on Surgical Training (JCST) and Local Education Providers (LEPs). In the Republic of Ireland, these roles are undertaken by theMedical Council (MC) and by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).

Deaneries and LETBs are responsible for the quality management of training programmes and posts and must implement processes to ensure training within their region meets national standards and is implemented in accordance with the GMC-approved curricula. LEPs deliver training and are responsible for its quality control. In the Republic of Ireland, this is overseen by the MC and the RSCI.

As part of its role in the quality management of surgical training, the JCST has developed its own quality assurance strategy based upon its quality indicators, trainee surveys, Certification Guidelines and the annual specialty report. For more information on the quality assurance of surgical training, please visit the Quality assurance page on the JCST website.

Quality indicators

  • The JCST, in conjunction with the schools of surgery, has developed a series of quality indicators (QIs) in order to assess the quality of surgical training placements in each of the surgical specialties and at core level.
  • The QIs, which are measured through the JCST trainee survey, enable good and poor quality training placements to be identified so appropriate action may be taken.

The QIs for each surgical specialty and core surgical training are available to download from the JCST Quality Indicatorspage of the JCST website

JCST trainee survey

  • The JCST launched the trainee survey in November 2011, which was developed in conjunction with the schools of surgery.
  • The survey is run through the ISCP website and trainees are notified through their ISCP account of when they should complete it. This should be towards the end of each placement and prior to their ARCP.
  • Confirmation of completion of all relevant surveys will be part of the evidence assessed at the trainees’ ARCP.

For more information on the trainee survey, please visit the JCST trainee survey page of the JCST website.

Certification guidelines

  • Each SAC has produced a series of guidelines to identify what trainees applying for certification will normally be expected to have achieved during their training programme. The guidelines cover such aspects of training as: clinical and operative experience; operative competency; research; quality improvement; and management and leadership.
  • Trainees and trainers should use the guidelines to inform decisions about the experiences that trainees need to gain during their five/six year programme.
  • Trainees will be monitored against the guidelines throughout their training programmes to ensure they are receiving appropriate exposure to all aspects of training.

For more information and to download a copy of the guidelines for each specialty, please visit the Certification guidelines page of the JCST website.

Annual Specialty Report

The JCST submits an Annual Specialty Report (ASR) to the GMC to provide both a national overview of the status of surgical training and an update on any major developments.

For more information on the ASR, please visit the GMC Quality Improvement Framework (QIF) page.