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Deloitte review urged Medical Council to consider documenting student interviews

The Medical Council should consider maintaining records of all materials collated during undergraduate medicine accreditation inspections, including interviews with students, Deloitte has advised. Deloitte’s review of the Council’s medical school accreditation process, dated August 2019 and obtained through Freedom of Information law, stated: “Medical Council management advised that interviews are conducted with undergraduate students during the accreditation process. Assessors currently use notebooks to document the results of their site visits where students are interviewed.

“Once interviews are completed, assessors narrate insights to Medical Council personnel based on the outcomes of these interviews. These insights are, where appropriate, incorporated into the inspection reports prepared by the Council.”

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Medical Council management considered that existing practices were acceptable as the World Federation for Medical Education had “not set out guidelines in relation to maintaining records of interviews with students performed as part of the accreditation process”.

Council management informed Deloitte it was developing a database which would be used as a document management system for accreditation activities. This would allow assessor teams to record relevant information.
However, Council management said it was not planned to include records of interviews completed.

In an observational finding, Deloitte recommended the Council should consider utilising this database to maintain records of all materials collated during accreditation inspections. There were two findings in the review which Deloitte described as important. The first was that the policies and procedures when conducting an accreditation were not approved by the education training and professional development committee in the review period.

The second was that the training policy did not set out the requirement that all assessors be re-trained and re-certified every two years. Additionally, there was no training schedule to monitor the training status of assessors and no documented process to monitor their performance.

A Council spokesperson told the Medical Independent: “With regards to the first finding, this change has been implemented and is now part of an ongoing process of evaluation. The second finding is currently in progress and on track to be fully implemented by the end of 2021.”

Regarding records of interviews, the spokesperson said it was “essential” that the assessor team could provide assurance that the interviews were confidential.

“The confidentiality of the process is paramount in order for those being interviewed to feel confident about being open and frank. Any recording of interviews taking place would likely have a negative impact on the quality of interactions.”

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