The GMC has published key findings from our national training survey 2013. Paul Buckley, Director of Education and Standards, talks about why the survey provides a crucial snapshot of the quality of medical education and training in the UK.

This year doctors in training told the GMC in our national training survey that they believe their training continues to be good. Overall, the survey shows that satisfaction is increasing with just over 80% of doctors satisfied with their training. However, concerns were raised again about long working hours and handover arrangements. Over half of the doctors surveyed (58.5%) said they worked beyond their shifts on a daily or weekly basis and just over 20% surveyed said handover arrangements before and after night duty were informal or that there were no arrangements at all. And there are ongoing concerns about feedback as just over 30% said they rarely received informal feedback from a senior clinician on their performance.

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Why we do the survey

The national training survey is one of the largest of its kind anywhere in the world and this year 97.7% responded – our highest response since the survey began in 2006. Every year we ask the UK’s 54,000 doctors in training their views and experiences on the quality of training. The survey is a core part of our work to monitor the training environment and to report back to postgraduate deans, medical royal colleges and faculties, and local education providers aspects of training that work well and areas that can be improved. The GMC works with local education providers, senior doctors, managers and medical directors to bring about improvement and change in areas highlighted by the survey.

This year’s highlights include:

  • Over 80% of doctors in training knew who to talk to in confidence about personal or educational concerns
  • 86% said they knew who was providing their clinical supervision during work
  • Over 90% felt they were supervised by someone who was competent to do so
  • Over 80% said they were very or fairly confident that their post would give them the competencies they needed at this stage of their training.

Helping to support high-quality care

Doctors in training provide much of the frontline care to patients and making sure they are properly supported and supervised is vital for patient safety. As with last year’s survey doctors were asked if they had a concern about patient safety in their training environment. One in twenty (5.2%) of doctors in training raised a concern through the patient safety question – the same number as last year. The GMC contacts every doctor who reports a patient concern and works with local education providers to address each concern raised, and identify ways to support improvements in training and promote good practice.

The national training survey is just one source of information about the quality of medical education and training, but it provides a valuable snapshot of the training environment at a national level and the perceptions of doctors in training on the frontline. We will continue to improve the survey so that you can tell us what is happening on the frontline of medical education and training.

Further information

This autumn we plan to publish results relating to patient safety, clinical environment and clinical supervision out-of-hours.

The detailed survey results are available to read on the GMC website.