Quality Panel Process



Quality Panels (QPs) are an integral part of the HEE Quality Framework (HEE QF) utilised by HEE across the South West. The panels provide important information in respect of quality management of the posts and programmes across the region. A review of the process was conducted during early 2019 to promote consistency of scrutiny and outcomes across programmes and specialties and to ensure efficiency.

The following webpage describes the outcome of the review undertaken. It is important that the functions and purpose of the Quality Panel is seen in the context of the overarching Quality Framework within which it is embedded.


Aim of Quality Panel

The aim of a Quality Panel is to provide improvement in the quality of postgraduate medical education (PGME). This will be achieved by an annual quality review of all the posts contained with the approved GMC training programme under assessment. 


What is a Quality Panel?

A Quality Panel is an annual meeting of selected individuals involved in the training programme under discussion. It has the remit to evaluate all the composite posts within the programme. It has a mandate to produce an outcome for each post. It must restrict its comments to the posts and not the post holders. The composition, information to discuss and output is described later in this text.


There is acknowledgement that the programmes for which Quality Panels should run vary in their post composition, locality over which they run and specialty requirements that they should consider. The composition of the panel and its discussions should reflect this. The data considered and outcome of panels should have consistency across the whole of HEE, working across the South West, for our quality processes to be robust and credible. 1


The Quality Panel Process

Each training programme will run an annual quality panel.



Quality Panels can run at any point in the year.  The Training Programme Director (TPD)/Foundation Programme Director (FPD) will determine the date and must inform both the Education Programme Manager (EPM) and Quality Team by the end of August when the panel will take place in that training year.  For example, a quality Panel running between Sept and July should have a date set by the end of August.  The ideal opportunity to run a QP would be as part of a regional training day.  This would potentially maximise trainee participation and reduce travelling time for many of the panel members involved. If the panel is run on the same day as Annual Review of Competency Progression (ARCP) it ought to be run after the ARCP and the chair must make it explicit that the ARCP outcome has no bearing upon the Quality Panel discussion and report. The assessment of the post within the QP is an entirely different process that the assessment of the trainee (ARCP).


Quality Panel Members and Responsibilities

The TPD/FPD should convene the panel, agree a date, identify and contact panel members.  It is the TPD/FPDs responsibility to actively encourage trainees to participate in the process.


The quality panel will normally be chaired by the TPD/FPD, however if it is felt that the Lay Rep or Trainee Representative is better placed to undertake this role then this is acceptable.


A Lay rep will be present at most panels to ensure that the process is followed fairly however this will depend upon availability and resource. Lay Representation will be audited by the Quality Team.


The TPD/FPD will decide who will be present at each panel. There must be trainee representation and the number of trainees on the panel must exceed the number of other panel members including the Chair. The trainees present should be representative of the placements within the programme.  They should be prepared to give a balanced view of the placement they have experience of and be informed about other posts within the programme by canvassing colleagues who have experience of these placements.  It is anticipated that the other non-trainee representatives will be a selection of accredited Educational Supervisors from the programme being evaluated.  A trainee rep, or other nominated person should be prepared to be the individual who records the outcome of the panel if the TPD requests this of them (a standard template is provided).  This should be organised by the TPD in advance of the panel.


External representation will occur at either the request of the panel Chair or the Quality Team.

A Head of School (HOS), Associate Dean (AD) or Quality Team member may attend the panel at the request of the panel members or in quality assurance capacity.


EPMs will identify a venue and catering (if required).  They will not routinely attend the panel.


Please see the Quality Panel Flowchart (below) for a full list of roles and responsibilities.



Information for Quality Panel to consider

The Quality Panel Chair and members can consider any information that they deem pertinent to inform the discussion. However, the Quality Team have produced Lines of Enquiry which allow discussion of the requirements that form the standards contained within the GMC document Promoting Excellence.  The Lines of Enquiry are generic for each panel but will contain additional prompts to discuss areas of concern.  This should enhance consistency, address active concerns and provide evidence to ensure that the regulatory standards are being met.


In addition to the Lines of Enquiry, the Quality Team will supply a cut and paste version of the GMC NTS School Report for each Quality Panel.


From 2019, Quality Panel Surveys will no longer take place.


Panels must not discuss the individual performance of trainees.


Panel Report

Each quality panel will produce a report in a structured format (please download below). There is no requirement to document the detailed discussion that has led to the panel’s decision on each post.  However, the report must state clearly the action that is required for the post graded to move to the next level i.e. Inadequate to Requires Improvement, Requires Improvement to Good and Good to Excellent.

Each post (or grouping where appropriate) will be graded as Excellent, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate.  Guidance for grading a post is included below.

The report, when agreed by the panel, will be sent to the EPM and the Quality Team by the TPD within 2 weeks of the date of the panel.  The Quality Team will then send to the Director of Medical Education (DME) of the Local Education Provider (LEP) cited in the report with a request to circulate to the department for comment.  This will be returned to the Quality Team within 2 weeks.  If no comments are received it will be assumed there are none to make and the report will then be finalised.

The report will continue to state the previous quality panel grades. There will no longer be an anomaly grade.
Where concerns have been raised the report needs to state that addressing these are either a requirement or recommendation. Each concern will have an individual identified as responsible with a date for the actions to be reported upon.

Those concerns marked as requirements will need an action and update. If no progress is made these will be escalated through our current quality processes. Issues that are recommendations should be pursued and progress documented. If no progress can be made these issues will be escalated.

The Quality Team will keep a register of the grading of each of the posts and determine how those posts rated as Requiring Improvement or Inadequate and dealt with in the context of the Quality Register and Dean’s Report to the GMC.


Quality Panel Process Flow Chart

Quality Panel Process Flow Chart - CLICK HERE


Outcome of Quality Panel Report

Quality Panel Report Template 2019 - CLICK HERE


Lines of Enquiry

Lines of enquiry template 2019 - CLICK HERE


Panel Guidance for Grading a Post

Post Grading Guidance - CLICK HERE


Revised August 2019