Long hours and poor handover remain biggest concerns for junior doctors


doctor-time-clockOver half of junior doctors (58.5%) work beyond their agreed hours, and one in five say handover arrangements are either informal or absent in their organisation.

The concerns come from the GMC’s annual survey of 54,000 junior doctors – one of the largest of its kind anywhere in the world with 97.7% of doctors in training responding.

Overall 80% were satisfied with their training. GP trainees were most satisfied (87.8%) in contrast to surgical trainees who rating their training lowest (76.2%). At the time of the survey in March 2013 almost three in four (73.8%) trainees described their post as ‘excellent’.

Worryingly 58.5% said they worked beyond their rostered hours on a daily or weekly basis, and 22.2% said their working pattern left them feeling short of sleep when at work.

“Almost 98% of doctors in training have told us about their experiences and we are greatly encouraged by the continued increase in satisfaction with their training,” said Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council.

“Doctors in training provide frontline care to patients so it is vital that we use these results to make sure their training environment continues to improve and to be safe for patients.”

One in twenty respondents raised a patient safety concern in their organisation through the survery. The GMC has committed to investigate all submitted concerns and a further report on patient safety issues will be published after further analysis this autumn.

Key messages

  • Over half of the doctors surveyed (58.5%) said they worked beyond their agreed hours on a daily or weekly basis
  • 20% surveyed said handover arrangements before and after night duty were informal or that there were no arrangements at all
  • Over 80% knew who to talk to in confidence if they had personal or educational concerns compared with 77% last year
  • Over 90% felt they were supervised by someone who was competent to do so
  • Just over 80% said they were very or fairly confident that their job would help them learn what they needed at this stage of their training