• GMC to investigate how workplace facilities affect doctors’ training
  • Survey will enable year-on-year comparison of burnout among trainees

The General Medical Council will be asking junior doctors about the impact workplace facilities have on their training for the first time, it has announced.

The medical regulator has added questions to its annual national training surveys about workplace rest and catering facilities, transport home after shifts and access to wifi to explore what impact these have on doctors’ training.

The inclusion of the new questions comes amid reports of low morale across the junior doctor workforce and the lowest ever level of doctors going straight into specialist training following their foundation years.

HSJ was told earlier this year that junior doctors were living in an “unhealthy culture” with a “significant amount of Stockholm syndrome”, during an investigation on exception reporting, which revealed junior doctors had worked beyond their contracts more than 63,000 times since 2015.

Exception reporting allows a doctor to file a report when they work beyond their contracted hours or work without breaks, as well as other contract breaches.

There are more than 11,000 medical vacancies in the English NHS and, according to the British Medical Association, eight out of 10 junior doctors who responded to its rota gaps survey had been encouraged to take on the workload of multiple staff.

Colin Melville, the GMC’s medical director and director of education and standards, said the lack of a suitable rest room or access to food and drink while at work can affect the ability of trainees to learn and trainers to teach.

“This year’s national training survey will help us investigate this,” Professor Melville said.

This year’s survey will also build on questions asked about burnout for the first time last year, which will enable a year-on-year comparison.

Last year, the survey found one in four junior doctors reported suffering from burnout and one in three respondents are “exhausted” in the morning at the thought of another shift.