Working with doctors Working for patients

The state of medical education and practice in the UK: 2013

This year, we have focused on complaints we received about doctors to see if we can understand more about them and whether they can help us identify areas of risk within medical practice.

Chapter 1

The percentage of IMG doctors within the ten regoins and home nations

Chapter 1 looks at how the medical profession and medical education continues to change. It shows:

  • the number of female doctors continues to increase and the number of international medical graduates is starting to decrease
  • the profile of doctors varies across different parts of the UK – some parts are more reliant on certain groups of doctors
  • several specialities continue to face challenges in recruiting doctors, particularly general practice, psychiatry and emergency medicine.

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To read chapter 1 (pdf), the full report or a summary document, see the download tab.    

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Chapter 2

Graph showing percentage of complaints

Chapter 2 looks at the main sources of complaints we receive about doctors and considers the possible factors and contexts driving those complaints. It shows:

  • we have had a 24% increase in complaints about doctors since 2011 and a rise of over 100% since 2007
  • the largest source of complaints is from the public and there are certain groups of the public more likely to make a complaint
  • the number of complaints from the employers and doctors continues to increase.

Read the report

To read chapter 2 (pdf), the full report or a summary document, see the download tab. 

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Chapter 3

Information graphic showing the levels of risk for different types of doctors.

Chapter 3 looks at the characteristics of doctors receiving a complaint and which doctors are most likely to receive a sanction or warning. It shows:

  • previous complaints increase the risk of having a future complaint investigated
  • a doctor’s risk of poor performance varies across their career and is affected by their gender, where they trained and the role they work in.

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To read chapter 3 (pdf), the full report or a summary document, see the download tab.  

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Chapter 4

Information graphic showing complaints in the home countries

Chapter 4 explores the relationships between our data and external data about hospitals. It shows:

  • there is variation in the number of complaints that were received and investigated across the four countries of the UK
  • several correlations between our fitness to practise or national training survey data with other data about NHS trusts.

Read the report

To read chapter 4 (pdf), the full report or a summary document, see the download tab.  

*Please note that there has been a small clarification added to page 80 (chapter 4) of the full report since the report was published.

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Chapter 5

Chapter 5 considers the changes that may be required to ensure that the profession is supported to meet some of the challenges identified in the report. It highlights how:

  • the shape of the medical workforce will need to change to meet rising demands for healthcare
  • we and others might better support complainants to ensure that any concerns about healthcare are properly addressed
  • we are changing the relationship we have with doctors so that we are better at supporting doctors in the workplace
  • there is more we need to understand about the organisational factors that affect the quality of medical practice.

Read the report

To read chapter 5 (pdf), the full report or a summary document, see the download tab

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