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RCOG response to GMC annual survey of medical education and training

News 1 December 2016

The General Medical Council’s (GMC) annual survey of medical education and training in the UK has found that increasingly heavy workloads are eroding the time doctors have for training.

Professor Janice Rymer, Vice President of Education for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said:

“This survey provides further evidence of the impact that increasing workloads and stretched budgets are having on our trainees and trainers within the obstetrics and gynaecology specialty.

“Gaps in middle grade rotas due to time out for research, flexible working or maternity leave have the potential to limit the amount of time that trainees and trainers can commit to training and, in the long-term, could deter trainees interested in obstetrics and gynaecology from entering and/or completing their training.  Rota gaps can also lead to stress and impact negatively on the workplace environment, which might also contribute to a sense of dissatisfaction.

“Identifying practical solutions that enable those responsible for medical education and workforce issues locally to tackle pressing issues is a priority for the RCOG, as evidenced by the College’s recently published Providing Quality Care for Women: Obstetrics & Gynaecology Workforce report.

“As the next generation of medical leaders in obstetrics and gynaecology, it is imperative that trainees are encouraged and supported to continue training and specialise in the specialty. Failure to support them in fulfilling their potential is likely to impact on the quality and safety of care they are able to provide to women and their babies.”

Dr William Parry-Smith, Vice Chair of the RCOG’s Trainees’ Committee comments:

“The GMC National Training Survey 2016 highlights on-going concerns about heavy
workload, patient safety and a reluctance to speak up about bullying and

“Obstetrics and Gynaecology trainees in particular routinely work
beyond their rostered hours are sleep deprived and have among the lowest
satisfaction score of all specialties.

“The RCOG Trainees’ Committee wishes to acknowledge the finding of high quality clinical supervision provided by senior colleagues despite the concerns raised; the dedication of our trainers to continue to deliver high quality supervision despite the challenging environment is a testament to their professionalism.  

“The report findings highlight the need for all working in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, including doctors in training, to work with the RCOG as it continues to advocate and lead on workforce planning, workplace behaviour and patient safety.”


For media enquiries contact the RCOG press office on 02070456773 or email