UK trainee doctors are being given the opportunity for the first time to voice any concerns they have about the safety of their patients in a national survey.
The annual National Training Survey, which is organised by the professional regulator, the GMC, is one of the largest surveys of its kind to quizz frontline doctors about the quality of their training.
The UK’s 55,000 trainee doctors provide much of the basic care in the NHS and are key to the future of medicine in the UK, says the GMC.
The GMC wants every trainee doctor to complete the survey, which for the first time includes a specific question on whether they have concerns over the safety of their patients.
This year’s survey will be completed online only and the number of questions has been halved. It will also be open for a shorter period, closing on June 15.
Last year's survey was completed by more than 87% of trainee doctors. Overall, the responses indicated that doctors rated their education highly, but they also raised several concerns, including insufficient time for training and the requirement to take on tasks beyond their competence.
The responses to this year’s survey will provide a vital snapshot of doctors’ perceptions of their training and help shape the future of postgraduate medical education in the UK.
The GMC will work with those responsible for medical education at a local level to analyse and follow up any information provided, including pinpointing areas for improvement.
Niall Dickson, GMC Chief Executive, commented: “This survey provides us with first hand views of a key group of doctors who are vital both to frontline care and to the future of the profession in this country.”
He added: “And, like all doctors, they have a crucial role in making sure patients are safe and receive the best quality of care – and that includes raising concerns when they feel that patient safety is at risk.”
But he emphasised that the survey was not intended as a “catch all” for patient safety; rather, the inclusion of the question would be another powerful way of picking up risks in the health system.
The National Training Survey is supported by the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans (COPMeD). The results are due to be published in July.
The GMC has also announced that its new tribunal service for UK doctors, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), will launch on June 11.
The MPTS is part of the General Medical Council, but it is operationally separate and it is accountable to Parliament. It will run all fitness to practise panel and interim orders panel hearings for the medical profession in the UK.