Trainee doctors 'fear for patient safety'

One in 20 junior doctors is concerned about patient safety at the place where they train, it has emerged.

The trainees raised concerns about patient safety in accident and emergency wards where doctors are required to work at speed and are under pressure, according to a poll conducted by the General Medical Council (GMC).

The research also found that almost 8,000 junior doctors said they felt forced to cope with clinical problems beyond their competence or experience.

Almost a quarter of the 51,000 trainee doctors who responded to the survey also raised concerns about handover arrangements, which are important to ensure continuity of care for patients before and after night duty.

Just over a fifth (21.4 per cent) said the handover arrangements were informal and 1.8 per cent said there were none at all. The GMC pledged to investigate all concerns raised. However, 80 per cent rated their training as excellent or good compared with 78 per cent in 2011.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: "Trainee doctors are delivering much of the frontline care to NHS patients. Making sure they are properly supported and supervised is vital for patient safety as well as for training.

"These findings tell us that while overall satisfaction with their training is increasing, these doctors have a number of concerns. The issues they raise must be urgently addressed.

"We need to study the results in more detail but the early signs are that we are continuing to see pressure on doctors in key specialties, and this cannot be good for them or their patients. We will do all we can to work closely with those at local level who have the responsibility for managing and delivering training for these doctors to address these issues."