Quality assurance of training

Quality Assurance is an essential part of the management of education and training.  The GMC has overall responsibility for quality assurance, which it does by establishing and overseeing standards and outcomes in medical education through its Quality Assurance Framework.

The responsibility for implementing the curriculum, creating appropriate training structures, and delivering training and assessment rests with individual training programmes as exercised through the various school and training programme structures. Quality assurance of these processes takes place under the oversight of the postgraduate deans and the regional offices of the four UK training organisations and will be monitored by the GMC through approval of training programmes and locations, and inspection of these by formal visits. 

The RCR assists in the quality assurance of all aspects of training through the following activities:

  • developing, reviewing and maintaining curricula and assessment frameworks that incorporate the GMC’s Generic professional capabilities framework and meet the requirements set out in the GMC’s Excellence by design standards for postgraduate curricula.  The GMC quality assures the curriculum through its curriculum approval process
  • providing Regional Specialty Advisers to support local quality assurance processes within their region and to act as external advisers to support quality assurance of the annual review of competency progression (ARCP) process across regions
  • appointing a Training Quality Lead to support the RCR to improve quality assurance processes and enhance awareness of these processes
  • providing resources to support the consistency of progression decisions at ARCP across regions, such as ARCP decision aids.  For updated advice regarding progression for trainees affected by COVID-19, please see our trainee progression and coronavirus page.
  • quality assurance of the FRCR examinations
  • providing training and educational resources for trainers, including training courses, e-learning materials and other guidance
  • collecting and analysing data on the quality of training in order to share good practice and highlight concerns
  • collecting and sharing trainee feedback

Through these processes the RCR aims to promote high quality education and training.

Regional Specialty Advisers

Regional Specialty Advisers (RSAs) act on behalf of the RCR to ensure that standards for training, curriculum delivery and workplace-based assessment of trainees are maintained. They work cooperatively with the RCR, their local office/deanery, and the GMC to provide advice and support in their own region and carry out the role of external adviser, providing independent review and quality assurance of the ARCP process outside of their own region.  Resources for RSAs and information on current vacancies can be found on our Regional Specialty Adviser webpage.  This is also where you can find out who is the RSA for your region.

Internal role

Within their own region RSAs are local experts on RCR curricula, assessment, and requirements for progression.  They contribute an independent perspective to local quality assurance processes, facilitate communication between the RCR and training programmes in their region, and support trainees, training programme directors (TPDs) and heads of school (HoS). 

External role

RSAs assist in the quality assurance of training in other regions by acting as an external adviser, providing  independent, but specialty-specific, feedback on  the ARCP process, the evidence provided to support this process (including the quality of educational and clinical supervisors’ reports), and ARCP outcomes.

RSAs fulfil the role of external adviser by attending ARCP panels in at least one other region to observe the ARCP process, providing a review of outcomes and the evidence supporting these, as laid out in the Gold Guide.  They submit a structured report to the RCR and the region visited, and work with other RSAs to highlight and share good practice, and improve the consistency of the ARCP process across regions.

Useful information

If you have any queries regarding quality assurance please contact qatraining@rcr.ac.uk