Official Partner The Royal Society of Medicine


Common Competences

The ACCS Common Competences are

Specialty trainees need to be able to practise the ACCS common competences to a high level.

ACCS Common Competences

History-Taking and Clinical Examination

Trainees are expected to be able to take a relevant history from and perform an accurate clinical examination of patients with increasingly complex problems in demanding situations. They should also be able to make a diagnosis and develop a plan for treatment.

Therapeutics and Prescribing

Trainees are expected to develop their skills in prescribing, monitoring, and reviewing patients’ medications. They should be able to anticipate potential drug interactions and advise patients and carers about potential side effects and reactions.

Other Competences

In addition to the ACCS common competences, there are other competences that trainees must manage, such as

Time Management and Decision-Making

Wherein trainees organise and prioritise their duties to provide the best care for patients, continually developing their clinical and administrative decision-making skills, and enhancing the effectiveness of the clinical team.

Clinical Reasoning and Decision-Making

Wherein make diagnoses and develop treatment plans based on the information obtained from patient history and clinical examination – the trainee should also be able to prioritise the plan for diagnosis and treatment, and communicate this effectively to patients and carers.

Patient-Centred Care

Wherein trainees prioritise the wishes of the patient and consider their concerns, expectations, and needs – including the support of both patients and carers, managing treatment plans, and encouraging patients to express their treatment preferences.

Prioritising Patient Safety

Wherein trainees learn that patient safety depends on how well the clinical team work together to organise patient care – including discussing the risks of having treatment with the patient, ensuring that staff recognise risks and can work to minimise them, and acknowledging the importance of working within their limitations.

Teamwork and Patient Safety

Wherein trainees work effectively within different teams, contribute to patient safety, oversee the work of junior colleagues, and develop leadership skills so they can deliver safe and effective care.

Quality and Safety Improvement

Wherein trainees should recognise the importance of monitoring performance and learning from mistakes. Trainees should also contribute to quality improvement by conducting audits of performance and reporting clinical incidents. Furthermore, trainees should attend mortality and morbidity meetings.

Infection Control

Wherein trainees should be able to treat infections in patients, including the prevention of cross-infection. They should also have experience working with the community to manage prevent communicable diseases.

Managing Long-Term Conditions, and the Promotion of Self-Care

Wherein trainees should learn to agree on a treatment plan with patients and carers, ensure that patients understand what it involves to facilitate self-care, and recognise the significant role that relatives, friends and carers play in the treatment of long-term conditions.

Communicating with Patients

Wherein trainees learn to communicate in an effective and sensitive way with patients, carers and relatives, identifying where an interpreter is necessary, and delivering information in a compassionate manner sensitive to the patient’s response.

Breaking Bad News

Wherein trainees develop ways to deliver bad news in a manner sensitive to the needs of patients, carers, and relatives.

Complaints and Errors

Wherein trainees learn what the local complaints procedure is, recognising when complaints are likely to be made, and when errors have occurred.

Collaborating with Colleagues

Wherein trainees communicate with other team members effectively and recognise the importance of working as part of a multidisciplinary team, in addition to taking leadership of a team where appropriate.

Health Promotion and Public Health

Wherein trainees should be able to work with communities and individuals to improve the health of the community, as well as reducing inequalities in healthcare provision.

Medical Ethics and Confidentiality

Wherein trainees are expected to apply the principles of medical ethics and confidentiality in their clinical practice, including the GMC’s standards for withholding or withdrawing treatment, when patient consent may not be necessary before disclosing information, and where information maybe in the public interest.


Wherein trainees should obtain valid, informed consent from patients.

Legal Framework for Practice

Wherein trainees should understand the legal structure surrounding UK healthcare provision, and also ensure they always work within this structure. Additionally, trainees should understand what the processes are for certifying a death. They should also understand the laws regarding child protection, and the laws relating to mental health and sectioning.

Research and Ethics

Wherein trainees should ensure that any research they conduct follows ethical guidelines, in addition to knowing what the differences are between audit and research, and how clinical guidelines are developed.

Evidence-Based Practice and Guidelines

Wherein trainees should be able to use the best available evidence to make treatment decisions, as well as develop, review and update guidelines based on current evidence.


Wherein trainees should be able to conduct audit and also apply the findings to their clinical practice.

Teaching and Training

Wherein trainees should be able to teach and train other colleagues, but also plan and deliver a training programme including assessments and conduct appraisals.

Personal Behavior

Wherein trainees should develop the attributes necessary to become a senior leader of the clinical team. They should also be capable of managing difficult situations and behaviours.

Management and NHS Structure

Wherein trainees learn how the NHS is structured, as well as the management of local healthcare services.


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