Trainees report little feedback on performance

MORE than a third of trainee doctors have been given little or no feedback on their performance from a senior clinician, a new report reveals.

Of the 14,459 F1 and F2 doctors who responded to the question, 39 per cent said they rarely or never had informal feedback from a senior clinician. Almost 57 per reported having had a useful formal meeting with a supervisor to discuss their progress, but 13 per cent had a meeting that wasn’t useful.

Just over 61 per cent of trainees had a useful formal assessment of their performance in their current post, but just over 10 per cent said their formal assessment wasn’t useful.

The figures were revealed in a more detailed version of the General Medical Council’s 2013 National training survey focusing on foundation training.

A total of 14,615 F1 and F2 doctors responded to questions about the quality of teaching, clinical supervision and the usefulness of posts for their future career.

A small number of trainees reported being supervised by someone they felt wasn’t competent – 9.4 per cent – but 90.6 per cent said they were rarely/never supervised by someone they felt wasn’t competent.

The survey also tackled the issue of trainees acting beyond their competence, with almost 72 per cent saying they rarely/never felt forced to cope with clinical problems beyond their competence or experience. However, just over 28 per cent said they felt forced to cope with such problems. Of those trainees, 1.8 per cent said it happened on a daily basis, 10.6 per cent on a weekly basis and just under 16 per cent on a monthly basis.

Almost a third of trainees (32.1 per cent) said their working pattern left them feeling short of sleep when at work on a daily/weekly basis. A further 46.6 per cent said it rarely/never left then feeling short of sleep. More than two-thirds (68.9 per cent) said they worked beyond their rostered hours on a daily/weekly basis, while 21 per cent rarely/never worked beyond their rostered hours.

Overall satisfaction with training was high at 77.7 per cent compared to 77.1 in 2012. More than half of respondents (56.5 per cent) rated the quality of teaching as good/excellent with 75 per cent rating the quality of clinical supervision as good/excellent. A total of 73 per cent felt their post would be useful/very useful for their future career.

Kitty Mohan, co-chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee, told BMJ Careers that informal feedback formed an important part of medical practice and allowed trainees to monitor their development during a training placement.

She said: “It is disappointing that roughly 40 per cent of foundation doctor respondents reported rarely or never receiving informal feedback from a senior clinician.

“While the last few years have heralded an increase in the number of formal assessments completed by senior clinicians for each junior doctor under their care, regular informal feedback remains key to reinforcing good practice in a timely manner.”

Read the full GMC survey results