BMA press releases archive

Training should not be an “I'm a celebrity…" style endurance test, says junior doctors' leader

(issued Thursday 02 May 2013)

BMA Press Release: Embargo 00:01 hours Thursday 2 May 2013

Training should not be an “I’m a celebrity…” style endurance test, says junior doctors’ leader

Half of junior doctors report staffing shortages in their workplace, according to new figures published today (2 May 2013) in a BMA report.

The seventh report of the BMA's cohort study, which traces the career progression of 430 medical graduates who qualified in 2006, paints a bleak picture of the working lives of doctors in training with many reporting high levels of stress and a poor work life balance where understaffing is commonplace.

The report finds that:

    * half of the doctors in the study think there are staff shortages at work

    * one in four junior doctors say they do not have enough time to deliver the quality of care that patients deserve

    * over one in four doctors feel their stress levels have become worse or much worse in the past year

    * one in four specialty trainees (doctors in the later stages of training) would describe their stress levels as “high” or “very high”

    * recently qualified GPs were more likely to report higher levels of stress

    * nine out of ten agreed that doctors’ dissatisfaction with work-life balance is a factor why people leave medicine or choose to work overseas
    * only one in four think positive change is happening in the work place

    * six in ten think changes to the NHS have had a negative effect on morale

Commenting on the report, Dr Ben Molyneux, Chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctor Committee said:

“Training to be a consultant or GP should not be some sort of trial of endurance like appearing on ‘I’m a Celebrity…’. We owe it to our patients to change the way doctors are trained.

“It is shocking that one in four junior doctors feel they do not have enough time to offer the highest quality of care to patients. Sadly, it is not surprising when you discover that so many doctors in training are working in unacceptable, stressful environments where understaffing is commonplace.

The BMA is currently in talks with NHS Employers about changes to junior doctors’ contracts and many of the issues raised in this report will be used as part of these discussions.

Dr Molyneux added: “We will push for junior doctors to have more control of their working patterns so that they can better plan their lives and the care of their patients.”


Notes to Editors:

1. The BMA Cohort Study of doctors that graduated in 2006 provides valuable information on the career pathways of the first doctors who have come through a new system of training doctors introduced in 2006 created as part of Modernising Medical Careers. It surveys 430 doctors over a 10-year period. This year’s report provides information on the experiences of doctors who are progressing through specialty training or are working as newly qualified GPs. Visit to download the full report.

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