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GPs go forth

Disabled doctors will receive more support under new GMC guidance

Disabled doctors and medical students can expect to receive more support under new GMC guidance.

Published today, the guidance advises medical schools and training providers to take extra steps to ensure all disabled trainees can fulfil the demands of their course or training.

The steps are outlined in the GMC’s ‘welcomed and valued’ guidance, which suggests a seven-step process for medical schools for undergraduate medical students and a nine-step process for postgraduate training providers.

Steps in the guidance include a summary of relevant legislation, forming support groups for the students and agreeing on confidentiality agreements.

GMC medical director and director of education and standards Professor Colin Melville said disabled doctors receive inconsistent support while they are training.

He said: ‘There are already many disabled doctors who are making great contributions to healthcare across the UK, but there are often inconsistencies in the support they receive while they are training and learning.

‘We want those inconsistencies to end, and for all trainee doctors and medical students to be given the tools and the flexibility they need to fulfil their potential and to have successful careers in medicine.

‘Our new guidance will help address that, by providing practical advice for medical schools and training locations about what they can do to make sure students and doctors with disabilities are supported.’

Health Education England deputy medical director for education reform Sheona Macleod said: 'Health Education England are pleased to see this publication, as we have been working with the GMC on updating this important guidance, which now includes postgraduate training.

'Disabled doctors and medical students can expect greater support to pursue their careers, following this new guidance published today by the General Medical Council (GMC).

'The guidance aligns with our work to improve the mental wellbeing of NHS staff and learners and promote a more individualised approach to training.'

Dr Hannah Barham-Brown, a disabled doctor who helped advise the GMC on the new guidance, said: ‘As a profession, it is vital that we reflect the diversity of the patients we care for, and so disabled doctors and medical students need to be well supported throughout their training. We are an asset to the NHS, and should be treated as such.

‘This guidance is a welcome and vital step towards better accessibility to the profession. Medicine is a hard career without having to worry about how medical schools and colleagues will address your disability, so the GMC producing this work in conjunction with so many of us is hugely appreciated and has the potential to make much-needed change.’

Earlier last year, the GMC launched a review of the guidelines stating that disabled doctors need more support.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Or ‘GMC give themselves another role to justify their existence’

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  • It’s about time the Medical Profession faced its own biases and prejudices towards disabilities and long-term conditions amongst its own. The Paternalistic culture backfires on us all. Anyone who has read my blogs will know I speak from experience about living, training and working with disabilities and long-term conditions. And reading the comments to some of them perfectly highlights the prejudicial and judging undercurrent constantly encountered by many doctors with both visible and hidden conditions.
    I hope this is more than just bluster from the GMC and CQC, but I think there is too much anger and awareness now for true equity to remain brushed under the carpet, and things must change if confidence is to be regained. However, big changes need to happen in other areas, including legal protection of rights and supports for independent contractors (ie GP partnership) if General Practice is ever to become truly representative and equitable.

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