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We must address work-life balance for GP trainees

For years, the BMA has argued that rota gaps are a serious threat to patient safety, to the education and training junior doctors receive and to the morale of staff which is why we agreed with the GMC that national training surveys should include a focus on rota gaps.

The GMC’s findings, published today, provide another opportunity for politicians to listen to doctors and take action. It is unacceptable for both patient care and doctors’ wellbeing that more than half of those surveyed say they are working beyond their rostered hours, and one in five say working patterns regularly leave them short of sleep.

The pressure of working in an NHS at breaking point, with chronic NHS underfunding and staff shortages puts doctors at greater risk of fatigue and burnout.

The BMA is ensuring employers better protect training time and improve rostering for trainees, specifically those working less than full time and we have worked with the GMC on a seven-point plan to improve work-life balance, focus on outcomes rather than time spent training, and support doctors with specific needs.

In April, we launched a pilot with Health Education England and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine so registrars working in emergency medicine could, for the first time, apply to work less-than-full-time hours to make work more compatible with non-work commitments.

Pulse is currently running its first survey aimed solely at GP trainees. Click here to complete the survey – participants will be entered into a draw to win free pizza for a year.