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Junior Doctor Training 'Threatened by Heavy Workload', Warns GMC

The General Medical Council (GMC) has warned that the heavy NHS workloads are putting junior doctors’ training at danger.

On 1st December 2016, the GMC published its annual report on survey of medical education and training in the UK. The report shows decreasing satisfaction with the heavy workload, with an average score of 44.5% this year, compared with 46% in 2015.

The GMC took survey on 55,000 UK doctors in training and found that more than 43% of doctors described their daytime workload as "very heavy". Doctors working in key specialities including acute internal and general internal medicine, emergency medicine, respiratory medicine, and gastroenterology – reported even higher workloads, and said these had grown worse in the past 5 years.

The GMC report found many junior doctors are working in healthcare systems which are under such significant and growing pressure that it threatens the training they need to become the next generation of consultants and GPs. The report also found that doctors with the highest workloads were more likely to report patient safety concerns.

Around half of doctors in training said they often work beyond their approved rota hours, and up to 25% said their working patterns left them sleep-destitute on a weekly basis.

The Director of Education and Quality at Health Education England (HEE), Professor Wendy Reid said the HEE understand that being a junior doctor is challenging and stressful without any extra pressures such as unsupportive senior colleagues, poor rota planning and lack of family time.

She added that a new code of practice would improve communication and planning of trainee’s placements. HEE look forward to working with the NHS Employers and the system to advance the working lives of junior doctors.

The GMC says that the time assigned for training must be protected so doctors in training can gain the knowledge and experience they need for their professional development.

A spokesman from Department of Health (DoH) said the government want to support junior doctors. That's why since 2010 the NHS has employed 11,900 more doctors.

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