Nine out of 10 trainee doctors do not have someone solely responsible for staff wellbeing

A Medical Protection survey of doctors has highlighted concerns about staff wellbeing, with junior doctors feeling the least prioritised by their line managers/partners.

Ahead of thousands of new doctors starting their careers on hospital wards, 90% of trainees who responded said they do not have someone at work solely responsible for staff wellbeing. The results also revealed that: 

  • 70% do not feel like their personal wellbeing is a priority of their line manager/partner
  • More than half did not feel encouraged by their line manager/partner to discuss wellbeing issues
  • Almost 43% agree or strongly agree to have considered leaving the profession for reasons of personal wellbeing. 

Medical Protection believes the early experiences of doctors can shape their careers, and it is important that as new doctors start their foundation years on hospital wards, they are safe in the knowledge that they are working in a supportive environment. 

The defence organisation is recommending that NHS organisations in England fully commit to the implementation of Health Education England’s recommendation to establish Workforce Wellbeing Guardians in every NHS organisation by 2022. Similar actions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should be taken.

Dr Pallavi Bradshaw, education lead at Medical Protection, said: “While nearly half of trainee doctors would recommend medicine as a career – there are clearly challenges which highlight the importance in building an environment which allows new doctors to succeed and harness the enthusiasm they have. 

“Being a newly qualified doctor is a challenging yet rewarding time, but they must remember that they are not alone. Working in a clinical team allows them to help and support each other and seek guidance and advice from senior colleagues and peers. This is positively evident in our survey, which showed that 87% agree or strongly agree that they would be prepared to cover a colleague’s work for a short period, so that they may take a break.

“However, just under two thirds do not or do not at all feel supported by their practice/hospital management – it is therefore imperative that there is the right mix of support from clinical leaders, peers and managers, as this can help prevent the loss of these hard-working and highly skilled doctors.”