GMC steps up checks on heavy workload undermining medical training

The GMC has overhauled its annual survey for doctors in training and medical trainers amid fears that heavy workload is undermining junior doctors' education.

GMC chief executive Charlie Massey
GMC chief executive Charlie Massey

GPonline reported last year on warnings from the regulator that heavy workload was eroding the time junior doctors had for training.

The proportion of GP trainees reporting heavy or very heavy workload has risen steadily since 2002, reaching 38% in 2006.

Trainees responding to last year's survey reported having to ditch training sessions to carry out clinical work, with more than half - including GP trainees - reporting working beyond their rostered hours during hospital placements.

The 2017 survey will add questions for the first time to assess the impact of rota gaps on junior doctors' medical education and training.

GP training

Findings from the 2016 national training survey showed that 'doctors in training with heavy workloads were more likely to miss out on teaching sessions, be asked to cope with clinical problems beyond their competence and to experience inadequate handovers with colleagues', the GMC has warned.

GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said: 'Health services are under significant pressure across all four UK nations, which is why it’s important we get as full a picture as possible of the impact service demands have on doctors in training and on the trainers.

‘Adding specific questions on rota design into this year’s national training survey will help us better understand the extent to which doctors’ education and training are at risk of being compromised, and follows the feedback we received from last year’s surveys.

‘After last year’s surveys we voiced our concerns that heavy workloads were eroding time needed for training.'

The 2017 survey will run from 21 March to 3 May.

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