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Ensuring fairness in clinical training

"Assessments should be about an individual's ability, not their background or circumstances of their birth."

BMA council chair Mark Porter

The BMA has been facilitating a process with a number of stakeholders to address the issue of differential attainment between groups of doctors across the postgraduate medical training system.

On 19 November 2014, the BMA hosted a symposium which brought together over 60 senior leaders from medical education and training, and representative bodies to explore current practice in clinical training, assessment and monitoring.

A core group of stakeholders who took part in the symposium met on 5 March 2015 to review and prioritise the broad recommendations for action. They agreed upon the following set of key principles under the three broad themes of training, assessment and monitoring.


Key principles


1. Learning plans and career advice for students and trainees should be based on individual needs

2. Trainers should understand and be equipped to be able to support fairness and diversity in clinical education and training

3. Early warning systems should be in place to identify students and trainees who may face difficulties in training

4. Tailored support systems should be available for all students and trainees


5. Evaluation and optimisation of methodologies used for assessment of students and trainees should be an ongoing process

6. Examiners should be selected and trained appropriately

7. Detailed and constructive feedback should be provided to all unsuccessful candidates on request


8. Equality and diversity data should be standardised and systematically monitored

9. Equality and diversity data should be analysed and results disseminated on an annual basis

10. All organisations involved in medical education and training should ensure appropriate adherence to the public sector equality duty


Within the report, each key principle includes real-life examples of good practice, which organisations can use as reference in their work to ensure fairness in medical training and assessment. The document will be kept under review with opportunities to add further examples and update the content over time.



Ensuring fairness in clinical training report