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12-10-2010 | General practice | Article

Trainee doctors ‘lack support’


National Training Surveys 2010 report

The General Medical Council (GMC) is concerned that trainee doctors are not getting the full support they need, after surveying medical trainees and their consultant trainers.

While the survey found that most junior doctors were highly satisfied with their education, it also revealed limited time for training in some cases, often because of unfilled posts - and that some trainees felt they were being asked to take on tasks beyond their competence.

And a review of the European Working Time Regulations (EWTR), introduced last year, raised some concerns that the impact of the 48-hour week on training time and balancing training with the demands of delivering care have not been taken into account.

The report, chaired by Royal College of GPs former president Professor David Haslam, indicated that new arrangements had been introduced into a system already under strain, with not enough doctors to provide adequate cover.

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC, commented: "We will not hesitate to step in where we believe trainee doctors are being asked to work beyond their competence or are not receiving the training they need. And we will continue to work closely with Postgraduate Deaneries and the NHS [National Health Service] to find effective solutions where there are specific serious concerns.

"On EWTR we support the government in its commitment to look at this again but like trainee doctors, we have no intention of going back to ridiculous hours that led to exhausted junior staff who were often in no fit state to care for their patients. The next few years will be difficult given the pressures on NHS spending but if training is given the priority it deserves, the NHS should be able to build on the good practice that already exists. We will work with the doctors involved and the health service to help deliver this."

GP News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Caroline Price