GMC commits to 'light touch' regulation as it highlights intolerable pressure on doctors

There is a 'state of unease' in the medical profession that is at risk of affecting the health of doctors and patients and a 'light touch' approach to regulation is needed to help alleviate pressure, the GMC has said.

The GMC said levels of dissatisfaction in the medical profession are 'higher than ever before' with many doctors facing intolerable pressure and upheaval, in its annual State of Medical Education and Practice report.

In an attempt to alleviate some of the pressure faced by doctors, the GMC has committed to making regulation as ‘light touch as possible’.

The report warned that doctors in training could exodus the profession given the ‘dangerous level of alienation’, anger and frustration many feel following the on-going dispute over the new junior doctor contract with the government and other 'long-standing' issues.

'This should worry not just those of us close to the medical profession, but everyone concerned with the future of our healthcare system,' the report said.

The report revealed that the number of doctors that move direct from foundation training to specialist training has fallen from 77.7% in 2012 to 65.7% in 2015.

According to the GMC's national training survey, the majority of doctors planning to take a break said work-life balance was the reason, with almost half of these citing burnout from their clinical placement as the cause.

Minimise bureaucracy

The GMC said it would ensure that bureaucracy of regulation is minimised going forwards.

It will also develop a risk-based model of regulation, engage with workforce planning and work to make sure education and training matches the needs of doctors, it said.

Dr Ellen McCourt, BMA junior doctors committee chair, said: 'To protect the future of the NHS, the government must urgently address the workload, staffing and funding challenges that are overwhelming our health service and ensure that junior doctors have the necessary time and support for their training.

'Over the past year, junior doctors across the country have raised concerns about the reality of working in an overstretched health service and the impact that has on their morale and patient care. The imposition of the new junior doctor contract has alienated junior doctors; it is vital that the government works to rebuild trust and show staff across the NHS, who continue to work flat-out to keep the NHS going, that they are valued.'

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