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The GMC on Francis - not clear

Posted Apr 18 2013 2:14pm

Following up on my synopsis of the implications of the Francis report, here is the GMC's response to the key recommendations relating to medical trainin g
" 155. The General Medical Council should set out a standard requirement for routine visits to each local
education provider

GMC - We are committed to a thorough and consistent inspection regime and we are addressing all of the issues raised in points a-d of this recommendation in our review of quality assurance in education.

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

a. Obtaining information directly from trainees should remain a valuable source of information – but it should not be the only method used.
b. 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.
c. The opportunity can be taken to share and disseminate good practice with trainers and management.
Visits of this nature will encourage the transparency that is so vital to the preservation of minimum standards.

GMC - We agree that visits/inspections are an important tool for assuring high quality training and protection of patients, and they form a major part of our existing quality assurance programme. The education QA review is looking at how we can strengthen the role of visits/inspections and at how we report on them. In the meantime, from the summer of 2013, where we have validated any concern about an educational setting we will publish that information on our website."

I am slightly concerned by the GMC's comments for several reasons. Firstly they have not stated that they will reinstated routine training visits to all local providers as Francis has recommended. Secondly they refer to their 'education QA' in their answer to both key Francis recommendations, as if their review is the ultimate truth and that this may overrule Francis.  Thirdly in their answer to 161, they state that visits form a 'major part' of the current system, this is worrying as it is exactly this system that failed at Stafford and that will fail again unless the GMC comes out of its state of denial.

Perhaps I am just paranoid, maybe, but I am deeply concerned that the GMC is going to ignore the key piece of advice from Francis, that being the reinstatement of routine workplace visits for all providers of medical training.  We need to hold the GMC to account on this, perhaps they will take it all on board and I will be proven to be a paranoid fool, but perhaps not, and if so we need to have anticipated this fact.

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