Training pathways

In November 2017 we published a report about doctors moving in and out of training. This will help training organisations to understand how doctors progress through training.

Our findings show that taking time out of training is common. Around a third of the current UK training population took a break in the past five years.

Breaks immediately after completing the Foundation Programme are also increasing - from 30% after 2012 to 54% after 2016.

Although a small number don't return to training within five years (7% of the 2012 foundation year 2 doctors), nearly 90% start specialty or core training within three years.

The second report in our training pathways series uses qualitative data and explores the reasons, motivations and experiences of doctors taking a break in training. Like the first report it focuses on those who take a break on completion of their foundation training (F2 doctors).

We also sought views on the benefits and outcomes of a training break, the factors affecting the return to training and the perceived constraints of the current training pathway for trainees.

The key findings show that a break in training does not mean a break from working in medicine. The majority of trainees choose to work in UK health services in medicine overseas and/or undertake further learning.

The most common reasons for taking a break fall into three themes:

  1. health and wellbeing
  2. uncertainty about specialty choice or career direction
  3. dissatisfaction with the training environment.

Trainees report a break has improved their work life balance for a period, helped develop a range of personal and professional outcomes and supported trainees with their career or specialty decisions. Breaks are viewed as a personal choice and more effective if they are well-planned.

Training pathways: analysis of the transition from the foundation programme to the next stage of training.

Training pathways: why do doctors take breaks from their training?

You can find all published research reports and insight papers in our research and insight hub.