Nine in 10 (91%) GP trainers say the pandemic has reduced their trainees’ opportunities to gain the ‘required curriculum competencies’, the GMC has revealed.
The GMC’s annual national training survey also found that 78% of GP trainers said their role had been ‘disrupted’ by the pandemic, while 69% of trainees in GP posts agreed their training had faced disruption.
And almost all trainers (96%) agreed that their day-to-day work had changed ‘significantly’ during the spring peak of the pandemic, the GMC said.
However, 93% of trainees in GP posts rated their clinical supervision as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ – six percentage points higher than the UK average for all specialties (87%).
And more than eight in 10 (82%) agreed with trainers that coronavirus has reduced their opportunities to meet the requirements for their stage of training.
The survey, published yesterday, was this year shorter than normal due to the pandemic.
It was completed by more than 38,000 trainee doctors and trainers – including 1,528 GP trainers, 4,806 trainees on a GP programme and 2,741 trainees in a GP post at the time of the survey.
The GMC said it is ‘committed’ to working with training providers ‘to ensure the impact of the disruption is minimised and that training is protected’ as the pandemic continues.
GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said: ‘The disruption the pandemic has had on doctors in training and trainers cannot be underestimated. Our survey shows us that trainees and trainers alike believe important training has been missed.
‘This is no surprise, but it is important now that we work hard, with training providers, postgraduate deans and others, to protect training as we cope with this significant and ongoing challenge.’
However, he added that despite the challenges the GMC has seen ‘many examples of good practice’, including virtual training, and ‘excellent teamwork’.
He said: ‘It is important to recognise that while formal training has inevitably been disrupted, the pandemic is a learning experience for us all. The experience doctors gain during these challenging times will be valuable for their future careers.’
BMA Junior Doctors Committee chair Dr Sarah Hallett said: ‘The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been far-reaching across the health service, leaving no corner untouched.
‘Many junior doctors have worked in unfamiliar ways and in new environments. The dedication, care and innovation of doctors throughout this time is a credit to the profession.’
She added: ‘It is essential that training opportunities are maintained if junior doctors are to progress through their careers, and ultimately, become GPs and consultants in coming years.’
The GMC said it has approved around 550 additional training locations to ‘minimise the impact of Covid-19 on training’ and ‘remains committed’ to promoting ‘more flexible postgraduate training’.
It comes as Pulse revealed this week that GP examiners have expressed concerns over GMC plans to continue to carry out face-to-face PLAB 2 exams in Manchester, despite new guidance against travelling in or out of the city due to high Covid-19 rates.
The GMC resumed PLAB 2 exams for overseas-qualified doctors who wish to join the UK medical register in August, after suspending them during the first Covid peak.