Quality Panels to Evaluate Postgraduate Medical Training Posts

What is a quality panel?

A Quality Panel is an annual meeting of selected stakeholders involved in a training programme to review the quality of all posts. It is an opportunity to implement ‘trainee voice’. It is intended to raise the quality of training to ensure that we aspire to excellence.

When should it happen?

Quality Panels should be arranged to take place annually between July and December so that the most recent GMC National Training Survey results can be utilised. 

Panels may take place in each Trust or they may be PGME wide. This will depend on the number of trainees in the programme.

Who is responsible for organising it, how should it be conducted and who should be there? 

The Training Programme Director (TPD) or equivalent, e.g. the Foundation Programme Director (FPD), is responsible for arranging the Quality Panel, as follows:

Prior to the meeting

1. Set a Quality Panel date and inform the Quality Team

2. Decide on the mechanism for surveying trainees i.e. using the paper based matrices or online survey

Paper/manual Matrix Process

    • The two matrices (E-Form / For Print) must be used to gather feedback for all posts against two areas which reflect the new GMC and HEE Quality Standards:
      • Safe Supportive Working Environment (SWE) and
      • Effective Educational Environment (EEE) 
    • TPD or equivalent to allocate responsibility for collating feedback on different posts to Trainee Representatives who will:
      • Explain to trainees how to grade posts; trainees should complete the scoring matrices using the principle of ‘best fit’ to reach an overall grade
      • If a post requires improvement encourage the trainees to explain why and suggest what could be done to improve the situation
      • If there are aspects of training that are done well, it is important to feed this back too
      • Collate all responses and bring them to the Quality Panel
      • It should be made clear to the panel by the Trainee Representatives how many trainees were involved in the survey

Online Survey Process

    • The two matrices have been recreated in the form of an online survey to gather feedback for all posts against two areas which reflect the new GMC and HEE Quality Standards:
      • Safe Supportive Working Environment (SWE) and
      • Effective Educational Environment (EEE)
    • Trainees should complete the survey using the principle of ‘best fit’ to reach an overall grade
    • The TPD or equivalent to provide the Quality team with the details for the trainees to survey
    • The Quality team to set up and run the Quality Panel survey with support from the TPD
    • The Quality team produces site specific reports for the TPD and Quality Panel

3. Choose panel members

    • Non-trainee representatives are a selection of accredited Educational Supervisors from the programme
    • There must be trainee representation and the number of trainees should ideally exceed the number of other panel members

4. Ensure that attendees are invited

5. Invite a lay representative

6. If assisted by Trainee Representatives, clearly allocate responsibilities

7. Collate sources of information for review at the Quality Panel (suggested sources of information are listed below)

Sources of information

Primarily, the main source of information will be feedback from trainees on their training experience over the last year via either the paper based quality matrix or online survey. 

Other information to be reviewed should include:

    • The most recent GMC National Training Survey data
    • Reports from previous year’s Quality Panel(s) and/or LEP school visit(s)
    • Reports from Response to Concern (Triggered) visit(s) if applicable
    • Summary ARCP data
    • Supervisor (Trainer) accreditation data
    • Recruitment data
    • Plus any information that they deem pertinent

A Quality Data Matrix is provided (here) to assist with assessing the above. 

During the Meeting

    • Act as Chair or delegate to the Specialty Tutor or Lay Representative
    • Highlight and identify any conflicts of interest and ensure that this is discussed at the beginning of the meeting
    • Ensure that the panel confines discussion to posts and not the performance of individual trainees
    • Review the sources of information and encourage quality panel discussion in order to:
      • Discern a score/grade for each post i.e. ‘Excellent’, ‘Good’, ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’. When the panel agrees on the overall grade for the post they will also need to suggest ways in which the post can be improved. Even if a post is graded as ‘good’ a note needs to be made as to how the post can become ‘Excellent’
      • Ensure that any areas requiring improvement and any areas of good practice are identified
      • Identify anomalies e.g. issues that stand out as a problem in a post with an otherwise good score

A report template is provided (here) for recording scores/grades, comments, actions and time frame for issues

Post Meeting - Reporting

1. Using the template mentioned above, produce the draft Final Report

2. TPDs or equivalent may wish to send the draft Report to relevant Education Leads for comment on plans for improvement. Feedback should be incorporated prior to forwarding a final Quality Panel report, one calendar month after the Quality Panel has taken place, to the Head of School, Quality Team and relevant stakeholders.

Report Sharing

The Quality team adds relevant data to the Quality Register – this information may be reported to the GMC as part of the Dean’s Report – should it meet Quality thresholds.

The report will also be distributed to the relevant DME. It is expected that the DME will distribute the information to the relevant departments.

GMC Involvement

Posts with an 'inadequate' grade will be considered to be included in the enhanced monitoring process of the GMC. 

Posts graded as ‘Excellent’ will be shared as Good Practice report via a pro forma.

Quality Panel Matrices

Quality Trainee Matrix - Effective Educational Environment and Safe Working Environment (E-Form / For Print)

Quality Data Matrix (Pro forma)


Quality Panel Report (Excel Spreadsheet)