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Over 70,000 trainees and trainers contribute to the GMC’s Training Environments 2018 report

6 December 2018

The GMC has published a report summarising the findings of their annual national training survey and identified a number of key areas for improvement moving into 2019. The survey, which looks at the UK medical training environment, enables the GMC to continue to enhance medical education and training.

Three key areas were highlighted by this year’s report as areas for improvement:

  • Protecting time for training
  • Promoting quality handovers and inductions
  • Creating a supportive workplace culture

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) welcomes the report, which clearly echoes the demands and pressures being felt by ophthalmic trainees and trainers. While poor handovers do not affect ophthalmology in the same way that they do other specialties, it is encouraging to see focus being put on comprehensive induction processes. The RCOphth Education & Training department have in fact already developed an induction toolkit for ST1s with recommended induction for ophthalmology, as well as the well-established seven-point guide for doctors starting Ophthalmic Specialist Training.

Fiona Spencer, Chair of the RCOphth Training Committee said “This survey highlights the difficulties many services have in matching capacity with demand, with 51% of ophthalmology trainees regularly working beyond their contracted hours. It is really important that despite this trainers ensure they provide high quality training and aim to protect their trainees from the pressures of the service.”

Recognising the need to create a more supportive workplace for trainees, the RCOphth has also worked with an emphasis on developing soft-skills through our mentoring and buddying schemes, Training the Trainers for Trainees courses, and a management and leadership course scheduled for 2019.

Dr Varo Kirthi, Chair of the Ophthalmologists in Training Group, said “The OTG supports the GMC’s focus on these core issues. We continue to work on protecting time for Research, Study, Teaching & Audit (RSTA) activities, supporting pilot mentoring schemes and sharing examples of local best practice with the wider training community. We anticipate the results of our 2019 Trainee Survey will provide valuable data to help shape the future of ophthalmic specialist training.”

The OTG will be following up their 2014 training environment survey in 2019 to compare how the workplace might have changed for ophthalmic trainee’s over the past five years. This is a unique piece of work which is peer-led and will include for the first-time questions specific to the 2016 Junior Doctor Contract.

If you would like to find out more about ongoing work by the College to support trainees please visit our website, or get in touch via