Heavy workloads still an issue for many doctors in training

Over half of all doctors in training say they regularly work beyond their rostered hours, according to our national training surveys.

The results also revealed more than a fifth claimed their working patterns regularly leave them short of sleep. For our survey, more than 53,000 doctors in training and over 24,000 senior doctors who act as trainers, took part.

A persistent and troubling issue

Chief Executive, Charlie Massey, said: ‘Workload issues, and the impact they can have on doctors’ education and training, remain a persistent and troubling issue. Tiredness and fatigue can impair decision making, and so can impact on patients as well as the doctors themselves.

‘Our early findings suggest some trainees have experienced improvements in workloads since last year. This is welcome, and it’s important that we acknowledge the work being done, across all four UK nations, to deal with these pressures.

‘However, it is too early to determine whether it is the start of a longer-term trend. We know from our wider conversations with trainees that the situation for them continues to be very challenging.

‘In the meantime it is important that education providers do what they can protect the quality of training and the wellbeing of doctors, using the results of this year’s surveys to target their efforts.’

"It is important that education providers do what they can protect the quality of training and the wellbeing of doctors"

Charlie Massey

Chief Executive

Working beyond rostered hours

Our survey discovered 53% of doctors in training in the UK said they regularly worked beyond their rostered hours, and 22% who said their working patterns left them feeling short of sleep at work on a daily or weekly basis.

The 2017 figures are a slight improvement on 2016 – when 58% said they generally worked more than their scheduled hours during the week – but are broadly consistent with the findings of our previous national training surveys.

We are now analysing the results of the surveys, to see how trends are reflected and differ across specialties and locations, and will publish a more detailed report, based on its findings, later in the year.

Read our reports on findings from the national training surveys.