BMA welcomes new questions on rota gaps in GMC training survey

Authors: Abi Rimmer 

Publication date:  20 Mar 2017

A move by the General Medical Council to ask doctors about the impact of rota gaps on their education and training in this year’s national training survey has been welcomed by the BMA.

The regulator, which oversees medical education and training, has added five new questions on rotas to its annual survey of doctors in training, which will open on Tuesday 21 March.

Jeeves Wijesuriya, chair of the BMA Junior Doctors’ Committee, welcomed their inclusion. “Junior doctors have been clear about their frustration at the growing number of rota gaps across the NHS and the impact these have, not only on doctors in training but on patient care,” he said. “We are pleased that the GMC has worked with us to include these questions as it will enable closer examination of the issues and help to improve rota design.”

The GMC’s 2016 national training survey, published last December, received responses from 53 835 junior doctors and found that increasingly heavy workloads were eroding training time.[1] The GMC said that the new questions were being added to the 2017 survey as a result of these findings as well as “to improve the GMC’s perspective of the impact poor rota design is having on workloads and training.”

The new questions are phrased as a series of statements which trainees can answer on a scale of “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” The statements include: “In my current post, educational/training opportunities are rarely lost due to gaps in the rota” and “The rota design in my current post helps optimise trainee doctors’ education and development.”

Charlie Massey, chief executive of the GMC, said, “Adding specific questions on rota design into this year’s national training survey will help us better understand the extent to which doctors’ education and training are at risk of being compromised, and follows the feedback we received from last year’s survey.”

The GMC welcomes responses to the survey from doctors in training and doctors who act as trainers. The survey will close on Wednesday 3 May.


  1. Rimmer A. Workloads threaten to undermine doctors’ training, GMC finds. BMJ  2016;355:i6495. [Link] .

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