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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)

  • Pulse - Why can't I comment on

    'Jesus may have been able to perform miracles, but GPs cannot'

    Is that because the GMC 'Emotional Resilience' contract has been awarded?

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  • @ 6th July 11.46pm

    The BMA is the problem and a deeply sinister organisation. The BMA have let the GMC get away this and much else unchallenged. You only had to see Dr Mark Porter and the BMA's response to the GMC doctor suicide report to realise that we are in trouble and do not have an effective union. No doubt Mark Porter (and others too) will get a titles.

    If anyone is any doubt about how evil the BMA is and how THE BMA DOES NOT HELP OR CARE ABOUT DRS please see this clip of what the BMA did to a whistleblower:

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  • Just followed that link- very informing. thank you for posting it.

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  • Who can you trust???????

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  • I remember doing over 700 weekends starting at 9 am friday to 5pm monday - 80 hours often with 3 or 4 hours sleep in 80 hours.
    It was not resilience I needed, just normal sleep. Something wrong with desiring some degree of a normal life with work life balance.? It is that we need, not the resilience to deal with 12-14 hours days seeing 45+ patients, putting our health and that of patients at risk.
    That is the NHS we inhabit.
    But only we doctors can change this.
    We NEED to define safety for ALL types of doctors in hours worked and patients seen.
    THAT is what a caring GMC should be advocating, safety for all.
    Not resilience for impossible workloads, not resilience like war. This is not war.
    I suppose that would have been their advice to Belsun.

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  • What has happened to a wonderful NHS and a wonderful country

    How can they talk about poor soldiers

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  • GMC ignores many of the basic principles of procedural law (as enshrined in several international conventions).

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  • GMC is the special needs child. Crisis mongering to make money for lawyers and barristers has failed. Western values are in tatters. time to finish this council whose true face we have seen.

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  • This comment has been moderated.

  • Alright --> done
    And .... I get in return?

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  • I feel doctors have demonstrated emotional resilience very well indeed by the way they have behaved during the years of GP bashing they have tolerated.

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