The General Medical Council (GMC) has issued new advice to support doctors with disabilities.

The guidance, part of the GMC’s welcomed and valued agenda is aimed at training institutions and medical schools and include steps they should put in place to make sure all students and trainee doctors, including those with disabilities, are able fulfil their potential.

The new guidance entitled “Welcomed and Valued: Supporting disabled learners in medical education and training” builds on the GMC’s previous ‘Gateways to professions’ guidance, and follows independent research and an extensive consultation with doctors, students, educators and the public.

Guidance highlights

1. Reasonable adjustments – “Critical to supporting disabled medical students and doctors through their education and training is talking to the individual about their needs.”

2. Transitions during medical training – “Training to be a doctor has many transitions – into medical school, into clinical placements, into Foundation training and between posts. Often, the challenges disabled medics face, such as securing suitable reasonable adjustments and dealing with negative attitudes and assumptions, reset at each transition.

“Sharing information in advance and discussing their needs with training organisations can make a big difference, but disclosing information about a health condition or disability can be daunting.”

3. A culture of support – “While tailored support specific to an individual is vital, it is also important to make sure disabled learners feel welcomed and valued.”

The GMC said that the “guidance is advisory, to help organisations consider how best to support medical students and doctors in training.” As advisory guidance the GMC is keen to point out that it does not lay down new requirements, quality assurance standards or policies from the GMC or any of the other organisations involved.

Stephen McCaffrey

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