clinical supervision

A report by the General Medical Council (GMC) has raised concerns over the quality of clinical supervision at some sites in the capital. Although doctors in training and medical students in London are being well educated and trained, nevertheless concerns about training and supervision were highlighted. These included:

  • concerns about supervision – some doctors in training reported difficulties in getting timely advice from senior doctors. In some cases they had to deal with clinical situations beyond their experience;
  • the quality of clinical placements varied and in some hospitals there were too many students or doctors on one ward at the same time; and
  • the quality of patient handovers in surgery and also at night and weekends was inconsistent in some hospitals.

The report, which provides valuable insight into the experiences of almost 12,000 students and doctors in training – 20% of all UK medical trainees and medical students – was conducted over a three month period. The GMC reviewed ten hospitals that provide medical education, five medical schools and The London Deanery (which is responsible for overseeing postgraduate education in the capital).

Notwithstanding the concerns, the review found many examples of good practice:

  • Doctors in training highlighted the variety of learning opportunities and good support from The London Deanery;
  • London has excellent surgical simulation facilities;
  • There are excellent links between medical schools responsible for students and foundation schools responsible for the training of doctors in their first two years of clinical practice.

The GMC has stated that it will work with Health Education England (HEE), and all those involved in delivering medical education to help them make any improvements that are necessary.

Niall Dickson, the Chief Executive of the GMC, said:

‘We will work with NHS Trusts, senior doctors and others at a local level to ensure that they are meeting our standards.


‘Inadequate clinical supervision is not just a London issue – doctors in training in other parts of the UK have reported similar issues. But it is important both for training and indeed the quality of care provided to patients.


‘We have now set up a rapid reaction team to check hospitals quickly where we have concerns about the quality of training and support.’

The full report ‘Regional review of medical education and training in London: 2012-13’ is available online at