GMC Publish Its 2022 National Training Survey

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19 Jul 2022

The General Medical Council (GMC) has today published the summary findings of its 2022 National Training Survey with a number of stark reminders of the need to improve both workforce morale and training opportunities.

Whilst the survey concludes that almost 90% of medical trainees rated their clinical supervision as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ and more than four fifths said they were confident they would be able to progress to the next stage of training, once again we acknowledge our disappointment that surgical trainees had the lowest level of satisfaction of all specialties.

As in 2021, a greater proportion of doctors in surgery did not believe that their working environment is a fully supportive one and only 64% described their teaching as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. Surgery also had one of the largest proportions of trainees describing the intensity of their work as ‘very heavy’ or ‘heavy’ and 22% of surgical trainees are at high risk of burnout - an increase from 16% in 2021.

Similarly, whilst nine in ten trainers report that they enjoy their roles, just over half (55%) of trainers were not able to use all the training time given for that purpose due to conflicting workload pressures. Within surgery, 10% of trainers are at high risk of burnout.

Equalities also continues to be an issue, with almost a fifth (18%) not agreeing that their employer provides a supportive environment for everyone regardless of background, beliefs, or identity.

As the report states, the NHS cannot address the unprecedented backlog with an exhausted and depleted supply of clinicians. Workplace cultures also continue to be problematic, with rudeness and incivility again cited as negatively affecting the overall work experience.

Therefore, more needs to be done to improve workplace cultures and surgical training. The renewed emphasis on the development of leadership skills amongst all trainees is welcome, but more needs to be done to provide both virtual learning environments and surgical simulation facilities to replace missed training opportunities.

Workforce planning must also be based on population and service needs. However, only by listening and reacting to the professional concerns of clinicians can we prevent more doctors from leaving the profession, and so prevent more harm coming to patients.

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