Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs to be required to demonstrate 'emotional resilience' at end of training

The GMC is proposing to introduce ‘emotional resilience’ into medical training, as part of a new framework setting out ‘core professional values’ devised by the regulator.  

A new consultation aimed at making doctors ‘better professionals and leaders’, launched with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, sets out doctors’ core responsibilities, which includes ‘developing emotional resilience’.

The GMC has said that the proposals in the new framework are based on basic ‘professional capabilities’ - including the outcomes that all doctors will have to demonstrate by the end of their postgraduate specialty training.

But GP leaders have said that the principle of emotional resilience lacks evidence as to whether it works, and that the working environment for doctors is what needs to change.

The launch of the consultation comes months after a damning independent review found that 28 doctors had died by suicide while under investigation by the GMC.

The review subsequently outlined recommendations for the GMC to implement – all of which the regulator accepted - including making emotional resilience training an integral part of the medical curriculum.

Earlier this year, the GMC’s newly appointed chair, Professor Terence Stephenson, claimed that doctors should have emotional resilience similar to soldiers in Afghanistan, and subsequently told Pulse that ‘we need to prepare tomorrow’s doctors for the situations they’re going to face after they qualify.’

In addition to emotional resilience, the ‘framework’ clarifies the ‘core knowledge, skills and behaviours’ that the GMC expects doctors to demonstrate including ‘effective communication, team-working and patient-centred decision making.’

But the former chair of the RCGP and medical director of the Practioner Health Programme, Professor Clare Gerada, said a more ‘common sense’ approach was needed.

She said: ‘We don’t know if resilience training makes good doctors, and being over resilient could even make you psychopathic.

‘Resilience is a difficult area to study, there’s no single definition, there is no systematic trial and there no outcome measures. So, it’s an evidence lacking zone, and we do know that there isn’t a significant change with the doctors of today with doctors of tomorrow – so it’s something else needs to change and would say it’s the environment that they are working in.’

Chief executive of the GMC Niall Dickson said: ‘UK trained doctors are valued and recognised across the world for their technical expertise. But alongside this it is vital that every senior doctor has the personal and professional insights and capabilities to deliver, lead and manage high quality care in complex teams, often in stressful environments or rapidly changing clinical circumstances.

‘Patients rightly expect doctors to be good team players, have situational awareness and where necessary to provide effective leadership - they also expect their doctors to be professional, principled and expert communicators. 

‘Other safety critical industries such as aviation have significantly improved their training and performance by developing insights into these critical aspects of human behaviour and performance.’

The consultation will run until 22 September 2015.   

 

Readers' comments (70)

  • What is this emotional resilience they speak of? this does not compute. [[error404 file not found]]

    I must not have received my emotional chip during training

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "A new consultation aimed at making doctors ‘better professionals and leaders"

    How about concentrating on making good doctors while addressing all the external stuff that causes unnecessary stress

    "Patients rightly expect doctors to be good team players, have situational awareness and where necessary to provide effective leadership - they also expect their doctors to be professional, principled and expert communicators"

    Really? Evidence for this? I suspect that most patients just want a competent and caring doctor.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Will they waterboard each trainee to make sure they have the emotional resilience needed at the end ot their training.To make sure they are tough enough!.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • How exactly could this be any more inappropriate? The regulators and NHS treats doctors with a basic lack of human decency and then the GMC have have gall to say we need to toughen up a bit and be a 'team player'. I mean seriously WTF are we supposed to do? Since when has it been possible for any human to have control over how they feel? It's time these people were taught a lesson in simple kindness. The GMC is digging it self into a very big hole, this is proof of the need for reform.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Joining Balint groups must be made compulsory as well.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Making yourself emotionally resilient is somewhat in opposition to being fully empathic. You need to be able to emotionally detach to be able to operate on another human ( for example). Doctors use humour as a more mature defence mechanism and rejection or denial as a more basic defence mechanism.
    Baling groups help but an understanding, open, supportive and non blaming structure to work in would help more. Starting with the GMC!!!!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Emotional resilience of soldiers from Afghanistan? Remind me what the incidence of PTSD, Alcoholism, Suicide & Other mental health problems are in that group?

    Typical merde-speak from the GMC.

    I agree with previous comments. GMC in a large part you ARE the problem.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This comment has been moderated

  • We need to develop the insight and protective behaviours that will lead us to leave the NHS on mass.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • To be honest doctors are treated like shit in this country.
    You are expected to adapt to every situation ;they fail to realise that doctors are also human beings.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • They want us to behave like soldiers in a military organisation, obeying orders without question. On the other hand we will be court-martialed for not whistle-blowing. If we do whistle blow we are court-martialed anyhow for disobeying orders. We cannot be seen to be autonomous in anyway, as this also would be seen to be flowing against orders.

    However we still have to show empathy WT....!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say

IMPORTANT: On Wednesday 7 December 2016, we implemented a new log in system, and if you have not updated your details you may experience difficulties logging in. Update your details here. Only GMC-registered doctors are able to comment on this site.