The GMC has published the results of its National training survey 2022. Over 67,000 UK doctors took part in this year’s survey.

The survey found that trainees overall are largely positive about the teaching and supervision they have received, with almost three-quarters of them rating workplace training as good or very good.

More concerningly, the survey revealed that over half of trainers and nearly two thirds of trainees are at moderate or high risk of “burnout”, the highest level recorded since the GMC began tracking it in 2018.

Commenting Prof Andrew Elder, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:

The fact that trainees are in general positive about their training and supervision at such an extraordinary time in UK medicine, with nine out of ten who responded rating their supervision as good or very good, says much of their own resilience and the commitment and industry of the consultants who act as their trainers.

However, the fact that so many of our doctors at all stages of their careers are at risk of “burnout” is deeply concerning.

The UK medical profession has attracted people of the highest quality to its ranks for many years but we cannot assume that this will continue given the unrelenting pressures facing doctors every single day as demand for NHS services continues to grow. The most precious commodity in clinical medicine is time and it is time that is in increasingly short supply. Without it, doctors cannot do their jobs – and if they cannot do their jobs to the standard they feel their patients need and deserve, moral distress, injury and “burnout” will follow.

But “burnout” may not be the best word, as it implies some weakness in the individual – but the issue is not with the individuals we recruit as doctors but the environment in which they have to work. We need to change that environment. If we don’t, recruitment and retention will falter further, rota gaps deepen and patient safety suffer.

And just as patient care requires time, so too does training. Trainers must have adequate capacity in their own job plans to allow them to provide training. The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh will continue to speak up to ensure both our trainee doctors and the consultants who train them have the best possible support and that the currently unsustainable pressures on them are addressed.