RCoA response to GMC report on medical training

Responding to the publication of the General Medical Council’s Training Environments report, Dr Liam Brennan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists said:

This report presents a picture of an under-resourced system relying on doctors in the early stages of their career routinely ‘going above and beyond’ to plug the gaps, and the pressures faced by consultants who provide their training. When staff are expected to do too much, with far too little support, patient safety can be put in jeopardy.

“Nevertheless, the silver lining of these findings is that the significant variation in the results suggest that there is best practice which can be identified and shared throughout the system, with notable successes in anaesthesia.

“What will be important now is for colleagues from all medical specialties to work collaboratively to take examples of best practice and develop solutions that work for everyone.

“I am particularly encouraged that nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of anaesthetists in training thought that they would be supported if they wished to undertake their training within a less than full time (LTFT) structure, around 10 per cent higher than the average across all doctors in training.

“Across all specialties, more than three-quarters of those working on a LTFT basis did so to accommodate childcare. I have no doubt that nurturing a culture that is positive about flexible arrangements will see us retain many doctors who, otherwise, may have had to make a decision to leave medicine. The College is also looking at what more we can do to support LTFTs.

“It is also encouraging to see reports of high levels of satisfaction with the educators delivering training in anaesthesia and the indications of strong relationships between trainers and anaesthetists in training, compared to other specialties. These findings speak to the supportive departmental culture we often see cited within the specialty.

“At a national level this report provides further evidence that the Government’s upcoming NHS workforce strategy must include a coherent plan to improve staff wellbeing. We would restate our call for a national morale and welfare strategy which makes practical recommendations for improving staff facilities and supporting better working lives”. 


1: 54.9 per cent (n=28964) of trainees agreed or strongly agreed that their specialty is supportive of trainees who wish to work on an LTFT basis

28 November 2017