Working Conditions Of Trainee & Specialist Doctors Examined

A report documenting the experience of trainee doctors and interns in Ireland has highlighted issues around long working hours and bullying in the workplace.

Despite the provisions of the European Working Time Directive, over one third of respondents in the Your Training Counts survey for 2017 reported working 60 hours or more in a typical week.

41% also experienced some form of bullying or harassment in their roles, an increase from 34% in 2014, when the report was first published.

The review examines the clinical learning environments, working conditions, experiences of bullying, retention and career plans and health and wellbeing of trainee doctors.

Bill Prasifka, CEO, the Medical Council said: "The results of Your Training Counts suggest that trainee specialist doctors and interns, in the main, feel safe in their workplace, have good general health and self-reported quality of life.

"Although there have been improvements in numerous key areas such as wellbeing and mental health, concerning trends which have been identified in recent years on serious issues such as bullying and long working hours still continue.

"However, this report is not just about supporting doctors, it is also about patient safety," concluded Mr Prasifka.

Dr Rita Doyle, President of the Medical Council added: "The information gathered through this report will inform dialogue and future collaboration between the individuals and organisations involved in medical education and training in Ireland, with a view to continually improving trainee experiences and outcomes. While improvements have been made, there is still much work to do. We need to nurture and support our interns and trainees, encouraging them to remain working in Ireland. They are the future."

70% of trainee specialists reported a good or better quality of life, with 76.9% saying they enjoy good mental wellbeing.

The number of doctors on the Trainee Specialist division of the register who expressed a desire to leave Ireland and practice medicine has steadily declined, falling from 21.3% in 2014 to 14% in 2017. In addition, those wishing to remain in Ireland has increased year on year, from 54% in 2014 to 67.2% in 2017.

Dr Rita Doyle continued: "Encouraging trends are emerging, but more needs to be done, especially around wellbeing of our doctors. Bullying will not be tolerated, and we need to reassure our trainees that they can be guaranteed support every step of the way. Employers, trainers and policy makers all have an important role to stamp bullying out of the Irish healthcare system. It must not continue, and I would encourage anyone who is a victim of bullying to report it via the appropriate channels within their organisation. If you believe that this hasn't been given fair consideration you can contact the Medical Council.

"The Medical Council has a zero-tolerance approach to bullying. It is wrong. Our interns and our trainees are the future of Irish healthcare. We need to ensure that they all receive the best experience possible, so that our trainee specialists continue on their chosen path with confidence and our interns develop and flourish, building on the high standards of education they received in medical school."

Wellbeing supports and resources are provided by employers, training bodies and the Medical Council. The report contains a comprehensive, linked resource capturing supports available to trainees and interns.


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