Doctors are increasingly moving away from traditional careers and training paths to avoid burnout according to GMC report.
The 2019 State of Medical Education and Practice report highlights changing approaches to work-life balance and career development which impact on UK health services’ ability to plan for patient demand.
The report found that, against a backdrop of rising workloads and the need to recruit and retain a sustainable medical workforce doctors are moving away from traditional career and training paths to career choices balancing wellbeing which signals a ‘new reality’.
Among notable trends is the rise in the number of doctors choosing to spend time working as a locum, practising medicine abroad, or even taking a year out, rather than going straight into specialty or GP training after the completion of their initial training.
Other findings include:
- doctors who paused before starting their specialty training were, on average, at less risk of burnout;
- a growing popularity of GP specialist training, with a 6% increase in doctors joining; and
- 45% of GPs reported that they work less than full time, and 36% have reduced their hours in the past year.
Amongst other things, the report calls on governments and health leaders to ensure:
- greater flexibility in medical training and practice
- better resourcing and planning of clinical leadership
- joined-up regulation across the UK’s health services.
GMC Chief Executive Charlie Massey said: “The challenge our health services are facing is no secret. We need more flexible training and career options if high levels of patient care and safety are to be sustained.
“The challenge our health services are facing is no secret. We need more flexible training and career options if high levels of patient care and safety are to be sustained.
“Doctors say they are no longer prepared to stick with the traditional career paths to meet that demand. We are seeing what looks like a permanent shift in the way newer doctors plan their careers.
“That doctors are making choices for a better work-life balance and career development is a new reality which health services cannot ignore. Establishing a sustainable workforce and encouraging supply, particularly of expert generalists who can spread the burden in primary care, is vital.”
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