GMC annual national training survey - initial findings

Medical Pay

The General Medical Council (GMC) runs a national survey each year to find out if doctors in training are being taught in safe and effective clinical environments, and trainers are well supported in their roles.

The GMC has published its initial findings of the 2018 national training survey which closed on 2 May 2018.  The survey was completed by 43,005 doctors in training and 15,614 trainers in England. 

Key findings


Levels of satisfaction with the quality of experience in a training post within England remains high with 81.20 per cent of trainees rating their experience as excellent or good. However, 9.44 per cent rated the quality of teaching as very poor or poor, which is a slight increase from 2017.

The number of doctors in England working beyond their rostered hours has slightly improved from 54.40 per cent in 2017, to 48.47 per cent in 2018, however the intensity of work by day remains static with 41.47 per cent of doctors reporting this to be very heavy or heavy.


There was a slight improvement to the intensity of workload by day for trainers with 67.49 per cent reporting either a very heavy or heavy workload. However, only 52.59 per cent of trainers had designated time within the job plan to undertake their role as a trainer, with 32.71 per cent of trainers either strongly disagreeing or disagreeing that they were able to use the time allocated within the job to undertake their role as a trainer.


The GMC asked both trainees and trainers a series of questions around wellbeing and the impact of tiredness and workload. The report shows that 21.28 per cent of trainees and 20.96 per cent of trainers feel burnt out due to their working pattern, which is concerning.

Exception reporting

We are working collaboratively with the GMC, NHS Improvement and other key stakeholders to make improvements to the exception reporting process to standardise the collection of exception reporting data. We encourage employers to continue to raise awareness of the exception reporting process among trainees for missed educational opportunities and unsafe working hours.

Later this year, we will be working with the British Medical Association (BMA) on a review of the junior doctors' terms and conditions of service, which will include themes of workforce, safety and wellbeing, and contract for training.

Specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctors

The GMC acknowledges specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctors in their report and is working with stakeholders to provide SAS doctors with the opportunity to safely and formally tell the GMC about their experiences of working in the NHS.

In 2014, we published the SAS Charter which sets out expectations for both employers and SAS doctors and a number of supportive actions around engagement and development. We acknowledge that implementation of the charter is varied across the regions and we are working with employers, the BMA, and other key stakeholders to discuss the challenges around implementation and good practice.

Next steps

We encourage employers to download the results for their trust using the GMC National Training Survey Reporting Tool. These results can be used to start initial conversations round the perceived quality of the educational environment and gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by trainees, trainers and SAS doctors to identify solutions to overcome these.

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