Junior doctors urged to raise training concerns

JUNIOR doctors are being urged by the General Medical Council to report concerns with their training programme.

Issues such as missed educational opportunities or excessive working hours should be raised via exception reporting – a new mechanism put in place under the 2016 terms and conditions for doctors in approved national training programmes in England.

GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said: “We strongly encourage doctors in training to make use of these reports, to highlight issues in a timely way that allows for problems to be put right as they occur.”

He said the regulator continued to be concerned that training time for doctors is being “adversely affected by excessive pressures on healthcare services” across the UK.

Figures published by the GMC last year showed trainee doctors with heavy workloads were three times more likely than their peers to leave a local teaching session to answer a clinical call. And amongst trainers, one in three said they did not have enough time to fulfil their educational roles.

Mr Massey said: “While we acknowledge that treatment in busy environments is an occupational inevitability, training time must be protected as much as possible.” He said it was vital that rotas were designed to take into account both training and service needs and that trainees would be asked about local arrangements in this year’s National Training Survey.

He acknowledged that some doctors might be reluctant to make use of exception reports, particularly for minor issues, for fear that there will be negative consequences for themselves, colleagues or their organisation.

But he added: “Organisations cannot plan their resources better in the future without a full and accurate picture. Doctors must feel able to report concerns wherever and whenever they arise. They should never be placed under pressure to feel otherwise.”

The regulator hopes to use the information from exception reports to improve the way they monitor postgraduate training and to protect the quality of doctors’ education.