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High satisfaction rates among GP trainees

The majority of GP trainees are satisfied with their training, though one in seven across all specialities said they felt forced to cope with clinical problems beyond their competence, an extensive new survey has found.

Results from the GMC's national training survey found GP trainees were the happiest with their training, with 5,592 respondents reporting an average satisfaction rating of 88%.

Surgery trainees reported the lowest satisfaction rates, with 9,461 respondents reporting a satisfaction score of 76%.

The findings are consistent with previous polls, in which GP trainees have reported the highest satisfaction rates every year since 2006.

Overall, satisfaction levels were higher than last year among junior doctors. Of the 51,000 respondents, 80% rated their training as excellent or good compared with 78% the previous year.

But the survey identified some areas of training that junior doctors found unsatisfactory.

Across all specialities, 15% of respondents said they had felt forced to cope with problems beyond their clinical competency, with almost 6% of respondents reporting that this happened on a weekly basis.

A third of junior doctors said they rarely or never had informal or formal feedback from a senior clinician on how they were doing in their post, and 35% described the induction to and the information received about their roles, responsibilities and objectives as fair, poor or very poor.

Almost a quarter (23%) said that handover arrangements to ensure continuity of patient care before or after night duty were informal or not in place.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said the regulator would work closely with education providers to improve the weaker areas of training identified by the survey: ‘These findings tell us that while overall satisfaction with their training is increasing, these [trainee] doctors have a number of concerns. The issues they raise must be urgently addressed.

‘We need to study the results in more detail, but the early signs are that we are continuing to see pressure on doctors in key specialties, and this cannot be good for them or their patients. We will do all we can to work closely with those at local level who have the responsibility for managing and delivering training for these doctors to address these issues.' 

A spokesperson from the RCGP said: ‘The results of the survey are a huge compliment to the sterling work of our GP trainers and deaneries, as well as being reassuring for our patients. But general practice is changing and our training needs to evolve with it. Future generations of GPs need to be equipped to deal with new challenges that we are already seeing in our practices and in our communities, including an ageing population with multiple, complex comorbidities.

‘That is why our bid for extended and enhanced training is so important, and we will keep pushing for this so trainee GPs can remain confident that they are receiving the very best possible grounding in patient care.'

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