Paediatrics trainees “dissatisfied”

  • Date: 29 January 2013

ANTI-SOCIAL working hours and concerns about work-life balance are fuelling dissatisfaction amongst paediatrics trainees, according to new research.

One in 10 paediatric trainees drop out by specialty training year 3 while more than 40 per cent have seriously considered leaving the specialty.

The findings were contained in a pair of surveys conducted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).

A cohort study questioned 354 paediatric trainees (81 per cent response rate) who started specialty training in 2007. It found that 11 per cent had moved to another specialty or were working in another career. This represents an attrition rate of five per cent a year between ST1 and ST3, the college said.

Just over half (51 per cent) of the trainees who left paediatrics had gone into general practice while 13 per cent had left medicine altogether. Despite this, 71 per cent of respondents said they were happy working in paediatrics.

A second online survey questioned 2,037 paediatric trainees (56 per cent response rate) and found 40 per cent had seriously considered leaving paediatrics.

The biggest issue highlighted was anti-social working hours with 20.2 per cent of trainees citing it as a problem, followed by concerns about work-life balance (10.3 per cent) and difficulties in progressing through the MRCPCH examinations (10.1 per cent).

A large number of respondents complained of having to carry out inappropriate or “mundane” tasks. The most common of these was administrative duties, with more than half of level 1 trainees, 42 per cent of level 2s and 37 per cent of level 3s highlighting it as a problem.

The RCPCH recommends additional administrative support should be provided to reduce the amount of time on “mundane tasks detrimental to accessing training opportunities.”

Other figures reveal almost 25 per cent of 1,788 trainees said they had either witnessed or experienced harassment and/or bullying. The college has pledged to ensure trainees are made aware of the available guidance on bullying and harassment.


Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health MMC cohort study (part 2). Dec 2012

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. 1st Annual Trainees’ Committee Survey Report – 2012., September 2012

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