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Traditionally, doctors who deliver training have tended to refer to themselves as 'teachers', 'tutors' or 'lecturers' if they are involved in undergraduate medical education, and 'trainers' or 'supervisors' if they are involved in postgraduate training. Where appropriate, these terms will be used throughout this website.

We have, however, developed the Scottish Trainer Framework to be as generic as possible, so we will also use the term 'medical trainer' as defined by the GMC (in "Recognising and approving trainers: the implementation plan") to mean "an appropriately trained and experienced doctor who is responsible for the education and training of medical students and/or postgraduate medical trainees which takes place in an environment of medical practice". This is an all-inclusive term, as it is acknowledged that there are a number of non-medically qualified staff undertaking "named" roles in Scotland. Although the GMC guidlines do not directly cover these trainers, we have included them within our requirements for recognition to ensure that all are appropriately qualified.

We will also refer to the 'named' trainer roles defined by the GMC:


  • A Named Educational Supervisor is "responsible for the overall supervision and management of a trainee's trajectory of learning and educational progress during a placement or series of placements"

  • A Named Clinical Supervisor is "responsible for overseeing a specified trainee's clinical work throughout a placement in a clinical or medical environment"

Other doctors will have a role in supervising specific episodes of practice. These doctors will not require formal recognition, although they should develop any skills required for their role as described in Good Medical Practice (2013). We will refer to these doctors as Supervising Clinicians to distinguish them from Named Clinical Supervisors.


Two roles are defined by the GMC. In practice these roles often overlap and have different titles in different Schools, so the Scottish Deans' Medical Education Group (SDMEG) have agreed on five broad categories of 'named' trainers who will be referred to in this Framework and who will be recognised for GMC purposes by each Scottish School.

Those "responsible for overseeing student's trajectories of learning and educational progress" includes:

  • Teaching Deans who are responsible for overseeing the undergraduate medical curriculum in its entirety;

  • Year leads / directors who are responsible for overseeing a specific year or years of the curriculum, including both the teaching and assessment of students within this group.

Those responsible in each LEP "for coordinating the training of students, supervising their activities and ensuring these activities are of educational value" includes:

  • DMEs who have responsibility overall for ensuring that undergraduate teaching is delivered within the NHS Board in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding with the Medical School.

  • NHS Teaching Leads who will generally be appointed by the Health Board, and will act as a point of contact between academic and NHS staff and ensure that departmental issues around teaching in NHS sites are addressed

  • Module / Block Leads who will generally be appointed by the Medical School and who have responsibility for a specific section of the curriculum within the larger programme, including both teaching and assessment.

In smaller departments, the Module / Block Lead and NHS Teaching Lead roles are likely to be performed by the same person.

Whilst the roles are broadly comparable, the exact titles in use vary from School to School, and each will provide a list of titles in use locally for their trainers.

Further information about the roles and remits of recognised trainers is available in the following document "Definitions, Selection and Management of Non-GP Trainers For Undergraduate and Postgraduate Medical Education in Scotland"

Other terms

  • Education Organiser (EO) will be used as a generic term for the five Scottish Medical Schools and the NES-managed PG Deanery responsible for organising training.

  • Local Education Provider (LEP) will refer to Health Boards or other organisations, including GP practices, providing clinical placements for students or trainees.

We will use the term "recognition" of trainers to refer to the local process whereby Medical Schools and NES will collect and validate evidence of meeting the defined criteria from their named trainers. "Approval" of trainers will refer to the formal GMC process whereby recognised medically-qualified trainers will be approved by the GMC. This already applies to GP trainers and is likely to be extended to secondary care trainers in future. The GMC will not approve non-medically-qualified trainers; however the consensus across Scotland is that where these trainers are performing a recognised role they should meet the same standards as other named trainers and will be recognised locally.