Intended for healthcare professionals


Doctors’ access to rest facilities included in GMC annual training surveys

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 19 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l1261
  1. Harriet Pike
  1. Cambridge, UK

For the first time doctors will be asked about their access to rest facilities and study spaces by the General Medical Council in its annual training surveys.

The regulator, responsible for overseeing medical education and training across the UK, has added questions about workplace rest and catering facilities, transport home after shifts, access to wifi, and the quality of online library and learning resources in order to assess the impact they have on training.

Colin Melville, the GMC’s medical director and director of education and standards, said, “We know that heavy workloads, rota gaps, and the pressures of busy health services can take a toll on training, but these extra questions will help us understand what other factors have an impact.”

The questions will be put to around 54 000 doctors in training and 46 000 senior doctors who act as trainers.

Melville called on as many trainees and trainers as possible to complete the 2019 surveys. “Each year’s survey results help us, medical education bodies, and employers to make sure trainees are getting high quality training, and that trainers are properly supported,” he said.

In 2018, questions relating to burn out were added to the training surveys. Responses showed that almost one in four trainees (24%) and just over one in five trainers (21%) from across the UK felt burnt out to a high or very high degree because of their work.1

The increased focus on wellbeing follows a programme of work called Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives, established by Health Education England in 2016.2 The programme seeks to improve the working conditions for junior doctors in England, including more flexible training opportunities and greater support.

The 2019 national training surveys are open from 9 am on 19 March until midday on 1 May 2019.

Earlier this year, The BMJ launched a campaign calling for doctors to be able to take the breaks that they need for their wellbeing and for patient safety.3


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