Doctors’ access to break rooms and study spaces will be in the spotlight for the first time in this year’s national training surveys (NTS), run by the General Medical Council (GMC), which open today (Tuesday 19 March).
The GMC, responsible for overseeing medical education and training across the UK, has added questions about workplace rest and catering facilities, transport home after shifts and even the provision of wifi, to explore the impact they can have on training.
The new questions, which will also cover the quality of online library and learning resources, are included in the annual surveys which seek the views of around 54,000 doctors in training and 46,000 senior doctors who act as trainers.
Professor Colin Melville, the General Medical Council’s medical director and director of Education and Standards, said: "We know that heavy workloads, rota gaps and the pressures of busy health services can take a toll on training, but these extra questions will help us understand what other factors have an impact as well.
"A weak wifi signal, the lack of a suitable rest room or access to food and drink while at work, particularly when working long hours, can really affect the ability of trainees to learn and trainers to teach. This year’s NTS will help us investigate this."
This year’s new questions build on last year’s NTS, which increased the focus on wellbeing and support for doctors by asking about burnout for the first time. Those questions will be repeated in this year’s surveys, allowing for year-on-year comparisons for the first time.
Prof Melville added: "Each year’s survey results help us, medical education bodies and employers, to make sure trainees are receiving high-quality training, and that trainers are properly supported.
"To do this we need as many trainees and trainers as possible to share their honest experiences with us, so that we, and others, can continue to make positive changes to protect and enhance medical education for the future."
This year’s national training surveys are open from 9am today, Tuesday 19 March, until midday on Wednesday 1 May.