Half of GP trainees face problems beyond their competence

Half of trainee GPs report being forced to cope with problems that go beyond their competency level during training, according to a GMC survey.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson: training good overall
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson: training good overall

Around 85% of GP trainees rated the overall quality of teaching they received as either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, with less than 3% rating their experience as ‘poor’. Over half of the respondents who took part in the GMC's annual national training survey said the overall quality of their experience was ‘excellent’.

But 49% said they had been ‘forced to cope with problems beyond [their] competency or experience’ at least once or repeatedly throughout their post, a figure GP leaders said was 'wrong'.

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, chairman of the BMA's GP trainee subcommittee, said forcing trainees to work beyond their experience was not good for training or patient care.

He said: 'Trainees aren't there to provide the service; trainees are there to be trained so that they can become a professional in either hospital medicine or general practice. Then they can provide the service, not the other way round.

'Yes, trainees should be pushed, but they should be pushed in a protected, nourishing environment rather than just being asked to do things because there's nobody else to do it. That's not what trainees are there for.'

'Unacceptable' lack of competence in supervisors

One in nine also said they had been supervised by someone they did not feel was competent enough to do so at some point during their training. Dr Kasaraneni warned that this was 'not acceptable'.

The chief executive of the GMC, Niall Dickson, said: ‘This is a good report reflecting the high standard of postgraduate training throughout the UK. But there are some pockets of inadequate practice where we do want to see improvements.

‘We have reviewed those with three years of poor results and we are working with the relevant local agencies, including NHS organisations, to make sure action is taken. We will expect to see better results from them in next year's survey.’

The report marks the survey’s eighth year and highest ever response rate, with responses from over 98% of the 54,000 UK trainee doctors. Overall satisfaction shows slight improvement from previous years.

Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs) are expected to report back to the GMC in October to address how they plan to address concerns.

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