GMC releases draft guidance on supporting disabled doctors in training

The GMC has released draft guidance explaining how organisations can best support medical students and doctors in training who have disabilities.

Launching a consultation on the guidance, 'Welcomed and valued: supporting disabled learners in medical education and training', the GMC said that the barriers stopping doctors with disabilities from reaching their full potential was 'unacceptable' and detrimental to UK health services.

This comes after the BMA passed a motion demanding better NHS support for doctors with disabilities at its ARM last week.

GMC director of education and standards Professor Colin Melville said: ‘A diverse medical workforce is important as it reflects and better understands the population it treats and cares for.

‘Doctors with health conditions and disabilities have a lot to offer, and at a time when the country needs all the medical staff it can get it’s unacceptable for unnecessary barriers to be placed in the way of those who want to become our future doctors.’

Supporting doctors with disabilities

Roughly 9% (3,727) of medical students in the UK have a declared disability, and nearly 10% of people applying for provisional registration in 2017 declared a health condition in their application.

The GMC said the guidance would be useful for medical education providers, deaneries, local education providers and royal colleges. It would also help medical students and doctors with disabilities, including long-term conditions, understand the support they could expect to receive during undergraduate and postgraduate training.

Professor Melville said: ‘It is vital that those who are beginning their medical education, as well as doctors in training, are given the help and flexible support they need from those delivering their education and training.

‘It is a complex area, and we have drafted our guidance in collaboration with experts, including disabled medical students and doctors who have told us about the hurdles they had to overcome to pursue their careers.

‘This consultation will help us finalise the guidance, which will outline the practical support medical education and training providers can offer to ensure all doctors, regardless of disability, are welcomed and valued, and given the tools and flexibility they need to succeed.’

The consultation is open until 20 September and GPs can to give their views here.

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