Big difference across deaneries in retaining graduates

  • Date: 30 October 2013

SOME deaneries are struggling to keep hold of their medical graduates with many choosing to pursue their training elsewhere, according to new figures.

Dundee and Oxford graduates were most likely to move out of the area for foundation training while Queen’s University in Belfast retained the most graduates.

Between 2009 and 2012, an average of only 20.6 per cent of graduates continued their training in Dundee while Oxford retained just 26.9 per cent. Bristol was third lowest on 31.2 per cent.

Queen’s was by far the most popular choice for those moving into F1, with 85.4 per cent of graduates opting to stay in the deanery. Glasgow University was next highest with 68.6 per cent followed by Birmingham on 64.6 per cent.

The figures were revealed in the General Medical Council’s third annual report The state of medical education and practice in the UK.

It also noted that the new medical schools set up following recommendations in 1997 for increased medical student numbers (Norwich Medical School, Peninsula, Brighton and Sussex, and Hull York) fell “somewhere in the middle” in terms of retention rates.

London deanery was the most sought after by graduates with fierce competition for places. Between 2009 and 2012, 21 per cent of students from Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge went on to do foundation training in the capital.

The report said the high retention rates in London, Birmingham, Newcastle and Leeds was due to a desire by young doctors to work in large cities. Others doctors choose to move to a new deanery because training in their preferred specialty is not available at their local deanery or because they want to experience the more varied caseload of a large urban setting.

Figures showed a “strong tendency” for graduates to pursue F1 training either in their local deanery or in a neighbouring one. Data also showed “a very weak association between universities where students felt that their medical school had prepared them well for practice and retention to the local deanery.”

The report went on to highlight the challenges facing emergency medicine training. It stated: “Whereas some specialties are struggling to attract sufficient numbers of doctors after the Foundation Programme – such as GP and psychiatry training – emergency medicine is struggling to retain doctors in specialty training.”

Many trainees who begin EM training move into one of the other related specialties such as acute medicine, anaesthesia or intensive care medicine. Overall, the specialty lost 12 per cent of its doctors in training between 2012 to 2013 – from 665 to 587. That is the highest proportionate loss across all specialties.

The GMC said more research is needed to understand the problems, but highlighted potential contributing factors such as recently qualified doctors working unsupervised at night.

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