Quality Panels: Questions and Answers

Please note that this page will be updated regularly but if you have any questions not answered here, please don't hesitate to contact the Quality Manager at jane.bunce@southwest.hee.nhs.uk.

Q. When should Quality Panels take place?

A. Quality Panels should take place between annually.


Q. The timing for Quality Panels between July and December annually is problematic for our programme. How can we manage this?

 A. It is up to the programme lead to determine which month is most appropriate for them to undertake a Quality Panel but it must take place between July and December annually so that the calendar year's GMC NTS results can be considered by the panel. 


Q. How often should a Quality Panel take place?

A. Quality Panels should take place annually, once a year between July and December.


Q. Whose responsibility is it to arrange the trainee representatives?

A. TPDs need to ask for volunteers / nominate trainee representatives please.


Q. What are the trainee representative roles on the Quality Panel?

A. Please see Trainee Quality Panel Information.


Q. How can we be sure trainees will feel comfortable enough to provide honest feedback?

A. By ensuring your panel has more trainees on it than other members.  By asking any trainers on the panel who may be closely linked to any of the trainee reps to leave the room at certain points. By ensuring that any issues regarding trainee performance are dealt with very separately.  In addition, some trainees may be feeding back on posts that they are not in. 


Q. Do trainee reps all sit on the panel at the same time, or are they interview separately?

A. Trainee reps are equal panel members and all sit on the panel together.


Q. What if it isn't possible for a programme to have more trainees than trainers in a Quality Panel e.g. for very small programmes?

A. We encourage compliance with having more trainees than trainers at Quality Panels to ensure the trainee voice. However, we appreciate that with one trainee in a small specialty this may not be practical.  We do encourage a conversation with that trainee though to ensure that their voice is heard.  Externality e.g. An Associate Dean would facilitate a more robust process.


Q. What about programmes with trainees who undertake multiple posts in a year?

A. Trainees should report on a particular post rather than a programme and each programme can decide which is the most appropriate census date to report on.  This will vary according to the programme rotation and start dates for trainees. 


Q. Should Heads of School run Quality Panels?

 A. No. The Training Programme Director is responsible for the quality panel with administrative support from Schools Managers or the Medical Education department in Trusts as appropriate.


Q. Do TPDs complete the two Quality Panel scoring matrices?

 A. No. The trainees complete the matrices prior to the panel convening.  The Trainee Representatives will then collate responses and provide the panel with a score for Effective Education Environment and Safe Working Environment.  This should be provided in advance of the panel meeting date.


Q.  How do the trainees representatives access the scoring matrices?

A. The Quality Team will contact trainee representatives in due course but the matrices will be provided in paper and electronic format.  Please also see section: Trainee Quality Panel Information.


Q. How is a post graded by a panel? What other evidence will the Quality Panel review?

A. Quality Panels will be provided with a trainee grading for Effective Educational Environment (EEE) and Safe Working Environment (SWE); in addition the Quality Team will provide a Quality Data Grading based on the data held centrally.  Panels will be provided with a copy of the data used by the Quality Team.  Other evidence that panels may wish to consider themselves includes: exam data, previous LEP/Quality Panel reports, ARCP data.


Q. If posts come back from trainee representatives graded as 'good', do we have to hold a panel?

A. Yes please.  In these circumstances we would ask you to consider how 'good' feedback could be increased to 'Excellent'.  In addition, we would encourage you to discuss and record Good Practice.  The panel will also review other evidence such as GMC survey feedback, ARCP outcomes, etc.

Q. How is the trainers view considered in the process?

A. The trainers will have the opportunity to give feedback on the draft Quality Panel report.  The report will become final once the TPD (Chair) is content that due consideration has been given to their views.   


Q. What if the matrices don’t cover topics which are important for the programme?

A. The matrices are only one source of evidence at the quality panel. It is possible to review any source of relevant information at the Quality Panel. 


Q. I have some suggestions on how to improve the matrices, can any changes be made?

A. The matrices will be used as they are for 2015 however we will ask for feedback following the 2015 process and as a consequence of this, changes may be made for 2016.


Q. Is there one particular category on the matrices which will automatically make a post a specific grade?

A. No, we use the principle of ‘best fit’. However, where one aspect of the post causes significant concern this can be reported via an anomaly grade on the report proforma. 


Q. What happens if there is a discrepancy between the ratings on the two matrices?

A. Then you have the option to look at the Quality Data to make a decision about a rating for a post (or group of posts).


Q. I am currently looking at individual posts, rather than groups of posts and am concerned about trainees not being honest and getting a lot of ‘good’ results. How can I overcome this?

A. We suggest TPDs look at groups of posts by grade. It's the TPDs role to decide which posts to aggregate. It is also possible to look at quality data to cross reference information from the matrices in order to decide a grade. 


Q. What if actions are required but we don't know timescales for improvement because the supervisors responsible for change are not at the panel?

 A. The draft Quality Panel report should be sent to relevant stakeholders for comment in order to capture actions. Supervisors can then have a chance to comment on the report, particularly with regard to an investigation and action planning.


Q. Can LEP visits still take place?

A. Yes.  If a School still wishes to undertake LEP visits then the Quality Team will support this.  However, it should be clear whether you are undertaking an LEP Visit or a Triggered Visit in response to a particular concern. 


Q. What about Trust Executive Team input?

A. The Quality Team meets with each of the Trusts at least twice yearly.  Interim Contract Meetings are held during the Summer where we meet with the DME.  In Winter, we hold Annual Contract Meetings with each of the Trusts where a member of the Executive Team is present.  We use both these opportunities to discuss any issues held on our Quality Register, GMC NTS results and LEP visit/Quality Panel outcomes.


Q. What happens to the Quality Report?

A. The Quality Panel Reports will all be made available on the Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education website once finalised. Please also see TPD Quality Panel Information.


Q. How long do Quality Panels usually take?

A. An average Quality Panel, e.g. Anaesthetics covering 6 Trusts, is likely to take 2-3 hours.


Q.  Do I need to hold a Quality Panel for an empty post?

A. No.  Please do ensure that such posts remain approved with the GMC though.