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Junior doctor training ‘threatened by heavy workload’, warns GMC

Heavy NHS workloads are putting junior doctors’ training at risk, the GMC has warned. 

Its latest annual national training survey reported decreasing satisfaction with workload, with an average score of 44.5% this year, compared with 46% the year before.

The survey, which received 55,000 responses from junior doctors across all specialities, revealed that many are ‘under such significant and growing pressure that it threatens the training they need to become the next generation of GPs and consultants’, the GMC’s report said.

Overall, more than 43% of doctors reported their daytime workload as ‘very heavy’ or ‘heavy’, a 2.3% increase (over 1,200 doctors) since 2012.

The GMC pointed out that other implications of too-heavy workloads include doctors in training being forced to ‘cope with clinical problems beyond their competence’.

The GMC also surveyed 23,000 trainers and one in three said they did not have enough time to deliver training.

GMC chief executive Charlie Massey has written to health trusts and boards in a bid to ensure that training of doctors is protected in light of the findings.

He said: ‘We know the very real pressures our healthcare services are under and appreciate the challenges organisations involved with the training of doctors are facing, but it is vital training is not eroded.’

He warned that the GMC would take action if standards were not met including targeted visits or inspections and, in extreme cases, removing doctors from their training environment or provider.

This latest analysis comes on the back of preliminary results from the data in July, when Pulse reported that GP trainees are more satisfied with their training overall, than their peers in other specialty or foundation training programmes.

Across all programmes, trainees’ ‘overall satisfaction’ with their training was 81.6%, while the GMC said that GP trainees – across hospital and practice placements – reported an overall satisfaction of 84.2%.