What is a Raising Concern?
A raising concern is a formal expression of grievance or dissatisfaction by a student, relating to a problem encountered in the context of their medical degree.
If you see or experience something that disturbs you during your pre-clinical taught modules or clinical placements, it is important that you know how to report it to the Medical School. Concerns should be reported via the Raising Concerns process, which is administered by the QAEU.
The role of the QAEU
The QAEU is responsible for ensuring high standards and good practice within the teaching, learning and assessment processes for the MBBS programme. As such, the management of the raising concerns process is within its remit. The QAEU reports to the Academic Lead for Quality and, ultimately, to the Director of the Medical School, either/both of whom may become involved if a serious concern is raised.
How do I report a concern?
The QAEU would prefer you to report your concern through the online Raising Concerns Reporting Form as it allows you to easily provide all the information we need to know about an incident. You can also email details of your concern to the QAEU.
What happens after I report a concern?
The QAEU has a well-established process, which is detailed in the relevant Raising Concerns policy and flow chart. The actions taken to address concerns will vary according to their nature: examples can be found in Michelle's, Ali’s, Sarah's and Harshil’s stories.
Anonymous v Confidential reports
Raising concerns reports are stored in a secure online file that can only be accessed by members of the QAEU.
In line with UCL’s Public Interest Disclosure policy, students are encouraged to include their name on the raising concerns report. This will, initially, enable the QAEU to contact the student to further discuss their experience and, later, update them on the outcome of their concern being raised. The QAEU’s preferred position is for the student to agree to their name being disclosed, during the investigation process, but will protect the student and maintain their confidentiality if there is a potential for repercussions on them.
Anonymous reports are much less powerful and far less capable of being addressed, although the QAEU may be able to consider them depending on the seriousness of the issues raised and other sources confirming the report. Although it is unlikely that we can conduct a full investigation into an anonymous report, it will be kept on file and will be used to build a better picture of the scale and nature of issues that students are exposed to. Anonymous reports may also be used as additional evidence if a similar concern is raised in the future.
Raising Concerns Guidance
The QAEU has developed guidance and FAQs for:
- Individuals, who are subject to a raising concern.
- Leads, who will be contacted by the QAEU when a concern is raised about an individual in their Trust or module team.
Freedom to Speak Up Guardians
Each of UCLMS’ partner Trusts has a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, who supports Trust employees to speak up when they have a concern. These Trust-based Freedom to Speak Up Guardians are ideally placed to discuss concerns with UCLMS students and encourage them to report their concerns to the Medical School via the online raising concerns portal. In addition, during the 2020-21 academic year, two members of UCLMS staff (one undergraduate and one postgraduate) will train to become Freedom to Speak Up Guardians. They will work with the existing network of Guardians to share information and best practice and will also be available to discuss issues with concerned students. Please contact the QAEU, in the first instance, if you wish to be put in contact with one of UCLMS’ Freedom to Speak Up Guardians.
The National Freedom to Speak Up Guardian’s Office, in association with Health Education England (HEE), has developed an e-learning package: ‘Speak Up, Listen Up, Follow Up’, which aims to explain in a clear and consistent way what speaking up is and its importance. The first module, ‘Speak Up’, aims to help everyone working in healthcare, including volunteers, students and those in training, to understand what speaking up is, how to speak up and what to expect when they do. Year 4-6 students are recommended to undertake the module, which can be accessed via HEE’s e-Learning for Healthcare, to ensure they are familiar with how to speak up in their clinical placements, if required.