The GMC National Training Survey published today has further emphasised the need for support of the medical workforce to be a central component of service and training recovery plans at both local and national levels.
The survey results, which incorporate responses from more than 63,000 trainees and trainers working across the UK, indicated that intense workplace pressures have caused burnout rates to increase to their highest level since the measure was first introduced in 2018.
Commenting on the findings, President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, Professor Jackie Taylor said, “The high numbers of trainees who reported feeling burnt out, emotionally exhausted, and worn out at the end of the working day needs to be taken seriously. Without a concerted effort to address the workplace and workload stresses being placed on the health workforce it will become increasingly difficult to retain staff and further exacerbate the problem.
“Wellbeing and support of the workforce is central to the delivery of high quality patient care and must form part of any planned recovery and renewal of service delivery.”
The findings around training and supervision were more positive with trainees reporting the clinical supervision and experience at a high level. Trainers also reported enjoying their role as trainers and overall the quality of training and supervision in healthcare has been maintained at pre-pandemic levels. However, almost a third of trainers reported being unable to use the time allocated to them for training for that purpose.
“The positive satisfaction with quality of training and level of supervision is a consequence of the dedication, skills and commitment of both trainees and trainers and is greatly appreciated,” Professor Taylor said. “However, this comes against a background of trainers with competing clinical commitments that impact on their time for training and supervision, which results in many doing this role outside their contracted hours which further impacts on their health and wellbeing. Workforce planning needs to ensure that adequate, protected time for training and supervision balanced against clinical work is supported in consultant contracts.”
Throughout the last year, significant advances have been made in facilitating training and assessment through online platforms, which have been positively received. Our College is providing a mix of online, hybrid and face to face training to ensure training needs are being met in the safest and most practical formats possible, and to provide flexibility to both trainees and trainers. This week, we have also seen the opening of new simulation training facilities at our premises in Glasgow as part of the Healthcare Skills and Simulation Collaborative (HSSC). This new facility may help to address some of the concerns raised by trainees regarding lack of access to simulation training and exercises during the last year.
“As we look ahead, the ongoing development of innovative approaches to learning environments both online and on location will be a key focus to ensure trainees meet their training needs. This will require a flexible approach to medical education and training at a national level.”
Further in depth analysis of the survey’s findings are expected later in the year. Key areas that require further exploring include the different responses received from trainees and trainers in different parts of the UK. The responses in Scotland in particular were low compared to the other nations, which is a concern that needs to be understood.
While the majority of trainees reported their workplace was a supportive environment for everyone regardless of background, beliefs, or identity, we will welcome further details on the specific outcomes of the analysis when they are published later in the year. We will continue to work with the GMC to identify initiatives that promote fairness and inclusivity in training.
The full survey results can be accessed here.