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Quality management

Quality Management of GP Specialty Training in Scotland

Educational Supervisor and Training Practice Approval Process


1. Quality Management (QM) of GPST in Scotland forms a part of the QM and supporting improvement activity of the Medical Directorate and is managed through the annual quality cycle of the specialty grouping that includes GP, Public Health, Occupational Medicine and Broad-Based Training. This includes the annual Quality Review Panel (QRP)and the two-monthly Specialty Quality Management Group (SQMG).

2. QM of GPST programmes relate to GP trainees’ experience in departments that host them, usually with other trainees (foundation, specialty). GP trainees’ experience will form part of the global quality assessment through the QRP process. However, GP Trainees are also hosted within general practices, which are in effect ‘mini-Local Education Providers’ with individual Training Practice Agreements covering training arrangements. The nature of these arrangements requires a bespoke QM approach, including the requirement for approval by the general Medical Council (GMC) of both the training environment (the training practice) and the educational supervisor (ES).

3. Approval and re-approval of ESs and Training Practices therefore forms a significant part of the QM of GPST and will be delivered in regional clusters with oversight and approval through the SQMG.

4. QM of training practices and ESs in General Practice is ‘visit-light’ and informed by triangulated data from a variety of sources rather than an over-reliance on the historical routine ‘practice visit’.

5. The QM process and all decisions taken as part of it are guided by:
• The General Medical Council (GMC) in ‘Promoting Excellence: Standards for medical education and training’
• The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Promoting Excellence for General Practice: Application of GMC Standards for GP Specialty Training

Policy summary:

1. Notwithstanding the ‘visit-light’ policy, visits are undertaken for new training practices and when triggered by concerns, significant changes in the practice or at the discretion of the regional GP QM Group or SQMG.

2. The regional GP QM Group normally meets at least 6 times per year.

3. The regional GP QM Group comes to a decision on whether the practice requires a visit. If no visit is required, the regional QM Group approves a ‘desktop approval’ and makes recommendations to the SQMG in relation to length and conditions of that approval.

4. In coming to these decisions and recommendations, the information for the ‘desktop approval’ will include the Training Practice and Educational Supervisor’s self-submission documentation triangulated with trainee feedback, ES performance (e.g. quality of Educational Supervisor Reports, engagement with trainer development activities), TPD input and any other available intelligence. Normally desktop approvals and site visits will take place alternately.

5. If a visit is required, a visiting team with a minimum of two members visit the practice either in person or via IT link. The team is led by an experienced member of the Deanery’s GP team supported by another member of the team or an ES. A lay member may be included.

6. The resulting visit report then becomes part of the data considered by the regional GP QM Group in making its recommendations to the SQMG.

7. A single agreed set of documentation supports this process

8. Re-approval of ESs or established training practices is for a maximum of three years but may be for a shorter duration dependent on the recommendations that are made.

9. Approval of a new ES or a new training practice is for a maximum of two years.

10. An appeals process is in place where a practice or ES disagrees with the SQMG decision.

Version updated: April 2023


This page was last updated on: 01.05.2023 at 09.17