The development of facilities questions in the national training survey

In 2019 we collaborated with the British Medical Association (BMA) to develop a set of questions on facilities for the national training survey. These questions ask trainees about the provision and quality of rest and study facilities in their current post. 

We used recommendations from the BMA’s Fatigue and Facilities charter to develop the questions. Introduced in 2018, the charter is designed to improve facilities and address unsafe levels of fatigue and exhaustion among doctors working night shifts in England. It highlights the importance of taking breaks and outlines steps that trusts can take to help trainees travel home safely after an out of hours or long shift.

If trusts signed up to the charter and planned to improve their facilities, they were eligible for either £30,000 or £60,000 to finance the changes. This funding was a one-off and all changes must have been agreed by trainees working at the site via their Junior Doctor Forum. 

How has the national training survey supported the Fatigue and Facilities charter?

After testing the facilities questions in 2019, we developed a facilities indicator within the national training survey. This indicator, as well as the questions assessing burnout, is used by the BMA to monitor levels of fatigue and the quality of facilities at different trusts, helping them to improve where needed.

Additionally, the inclusion of the facilities questions in the national training survey has demonstrated the importance of adequate rest and study facilities to senior staff at trusts. This has helped to build support for the charter and all trusts in England are now signed up.

What was the outcome?

The BMA has received positive feedback from trainees, with many highlighting the proactive ways in which trusts have improved facilities. Work to improve rest facilities and combat fatigue is ongoing and we will continue to collaborate with the BMA to make sure the national training survey continues to support their work.