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GMC annual national training survey asks doctors about burnout

21 March 2018

As part of this year’s national training surveys (NTS) the GMC asks a series of questions around well-being and the impact tiredness and workload have on both doctors in training and those training them.

It is the first time burnout has been addressed by specific questions in the NTS, which seeks the views of around 55,000 doctors in training and 45,000 senior doctors who act as trainers.

The new questions, which are voluntary, cover issues such as work-life balance, tiredness during and after work and the effect this may have on a doctor.

Their introduction follows successful testing of the questions, by the GMC, with around 2,000 doctors.

Last year’s surveys revealed the extent to which trainers had to fit their training roles around daily duties as either consultants or GPs, and that 75% of them worked beyond their rostered hours each week.

It also revealed that more than 40% of trainees rated the intensity of their work by day as ‘heavy’ or ‘very heavy’ and that 22% of doctors in training felt short of sleep while at work.

In order to learn more about the impact of this, the GMC is now asking specifically about the effects these pressures have on doctors.

Dr Colin Melville, the General Medical Council’s Director of Education and Standards, said:

‘We recognise that this is a challenging time. Many doctors are very concerned about the system pressures across all four UK countries and we know that this winter has been particularly hard for both doctors in training and trainers.

‘Each year’s NTS results help the GMC, medical education bodies and local organisations, to make sure trainees are receiving high-quality training, and that trainers are properly supported.

‘This can’t be done without the hugely valuable input of tens of thousands of doctors.

‘By giving their views about the quality of training they receive and the environments they’re working in, doctors are providing the data we need to identify where improvements are required.

‘We then work with partners at a local level to ensure these issues are acted on. Ultimately all doctors should be in training environments that meet our standards.’

The NTS, for doctors in training and doctors who act as trainers remains open until Wednesday 2 May.