Generic professional capabilities - GMC consultation

Doctors talking

The General Medical Council (GMC) is consulting on a new framework for the generic professional capabilities that are common to doctors across all medical specialties and are essential to safe, high-quality clinical care.

NHS Employers will be responding to the consultation and would like your comments on the proposals. We have developed a simple online questionnaire on generic professional capabilities to help us understand your views and would be grateful if you could complete this by 11 September 2015.

If you would also like to respond individually to the consultation, the full details of the proposals and the 22-question questionnaire is available on the GMC's website

The need for a generic capabilities framework came out of the Shape of Training report. Major patient safety inquiries have also highlighted systemic problems around broader human qualities such as professionalism, communication and leadership.

Developing an understanding of the factors that affect human behaviour and performance is central to high quality clinical care and underpin professional excellence.

Industries that have invested in training that develop these skills have substantially reduced risk and improved performance and safety. The GMC believes that delivery of such training as part of postgraduate medical education will better equip doctors to effectively deal with the complexity, uncertainty and challenge of contemporary medical practice.

The GMC has developed a draft framework, setting out the core professional values, knowledge, skills and behaviours that the GMC thinks all doctors should know, be able to apply and adapt to a range of contexts by the time they complete specialty training. The intention is to embed these generic professional insights and capabilities in all postgraduate specialty training curricula.

What would generic professional capabilities mean in practice?
In addition to attaining the outcomes expected in their specialty, every doctor will need to demonstrate to the GMC that they have met the outcomes in the framework and have developed the appropriate generic professional capabilities, to an acceptable level. This is before they can complete postgraduate specialty training. The GMC wants to see that the doctor:

  • has developed as a person and has an appropriate level of professional maturity that means they understand their responsibilities and have demonstrated the generic professional capabilities required of contemporary medical professionals in the UK 
  • can apply these generic professional capabilities in a wide range of clinical and non-clinical settings
  • has demonstrated appropriate levels of insight and situational awareness.
These generic professional capabilities will make sure that doctors with a Certificate of Completion of Training will be able to act in a sensitive, ethical and professional way, can respect equality and diversity, adapt to the needs of diverse local patient populations, and work as part of a multidisciplinary, inter-professional team within an integrated health and social care system.

The domains
The framework has a series of domains, each with specific themes and required outcomes:

  • Domain 1: Professional values and behaviours
  • Domain 2: Professional skills
  • Domain 3: Professional knowledge
  • Domain 4: Communication capabilities
  • Domain 5: Capabilities in leadership and team working
  • Domain 6: Capabilities in patient safety and quality improvement.
  • Domain 7: Capabilities of dealing with complexity and uncertainty
  • Domain 8: Capabilities in safeguarding vulnerable groups
  • Domain 9: Capabilities in education and training
  • Domain 10: Capabilities in research

Read the detail of each of the domains.

The GMC has set out clear minimum requirements and professionally defined levels of attainment within the framework. They propose that different specialties develop their own assessment approaches to achieve these and clearly define these within the curricula, using a range of methods such as:

  • expert / trained assessor observations and judgements (from multiple assessors over time)
  • multi-source feedback
  • reflective writing
  • review of video, simulation or other practice based assessments
  • observations of professional encounters such as multi-professional team working or of teaching and/or research activity.

Existing structured assessment methods – such as direct observation of procedural skills (DOPS), mini-clinical evaluation exercise (Mini-CEX) and case-based discussion (CBD) – could be adapted to include evidence of some elements, but new methods may be required. Whatever assessment is used colleges must ensure that it is reliable, valid, fair, cost-effective, acceptable and feasible.

Share your views 
Fill in our simple online questionnaire on generic professional capabilities by 11 September to give your views. 

Why Register?

Great reasons to register with NHS Employers

  • A personalised website
    Manage your profile and select topics of interest to you
  • Access your dashboard
    Bookmark useful content to help you quickly find what you're looking for
  • Get involved
    Contribute to our Talking Points discussions, comment on and rate our webpages
  • Keep up to date
    Receive the latest newsletters and media summaries

Log In