Royal College of Physicians responds to the General Medical Council’s 2019 report

A report published today by the GMC highlights changing approaches to work-life balance and career development among doctors which impact on UK health services’ ability to plan for patient demand.

Among notable trends, the state of medical education and practice 2019 (SoMEP) report shows a 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. The report also found that doctors are moving away from traditional career and training paths, and are increasingly prioritising their wellbeing when choosing their career.

In response, Professor Andrew Goddard said:

“This report is yet further evidence of the need to provide more flexible working hours for doctors. 

“If we’re to resolve the NHS workforce crisis, we must accept the reality that doctors’ needs today are very different from 5 or 10 years ago. More and more doctors want to work part time, and we need to adapt our workforce to suit that change.

“Our main concern is that there simply aren’t enough medical students coming through the pipeline to fill the gaps that part time working creates.

“We need to double the number of medical school places so that all specialties are able to adequately recruit, and so that we can create a medical workforce that is fit for the future.”