Doctors’ entire careers from medical school through to consultant level will be tracked by a database designed to find the best way of selecting and testing doctors, HSJ has learned.

The General Medical Council database will also track fitness to practise decisions levelled against doctors during their careers and no opt out will be available.

Lecture hall

Medical schools will be expected to increase the proportion of students from deprived areas

Establishing this database is one of the main recommendations in a report by the Medical Schools Council called Selecting for Excellence, which is due to be published next week.

It points to ways of improving university selection and to ensure more students from a lower class background are chosen by medical schools.

Research for the MSC has revealed that 80 per cent of medicine applicants came from just 20 per cent of schools or colleges and were more likely to be from selective schools.

A survey by the GMC in 2014 found more than half of foundation year doctors came from the least deprived areas of the country.

Over the next decade, medical schools will be expected to increase the proportion of students studying medicine by 3 per cent from each of the bottom two quintiles for areas with the lowest participation rates. This is expected to result in just 480 more students from such areas studying medicine, based on the current numbers of places.

Professor Tony Weetman, chair of the Selecting for Excellence group, told HSJ: “To get the 33 medical schools in the UK to accept the recommendations is a big ask and we have thought long and hard about the targets and there is no point having a target which might be seen by those schools to be too excessive.

“This is the best we can come up with and the targets are meant to be a combination of what is achievable and reasonable.”

He said the proposed database would not be “intrusive” arguing: “It is the only way to get valuable data and I would say to any member of the profession or the public how could you possibly not want to have reliable tests with real data when we have had Mid Staffs?

“We didn’t cover ourselves in glory as a profession in terms of being outspoken and standing up for the values we all know are right.

“This is about selecting the right kind of people to be doctors and also making it crystal clear what we are looking for which gets round one of the many areas that disadvantage certain groups of society.”

A spokesman for the GMC said: “We collect a wealth of information about the medical profession and the organisations where doctors practise and train.

“Partners across the UK are already using our data to supplement their own intelligence about providers of care and to evaluate and improve medical education and training.

“Part of this important work includes the UKMED project and we are working closely with the MSC and other key stakeholders to develop this.”