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GMC report shows doctors burnout worsens during pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased burnout among doctors and risks reversing recent improvements in their workloads and wellbeing according to a report published by the UK General Medical Council.

The GMC’s annual national training survey was completed by more than 63,000 UK doctors, all of them either trainees or trainers. Responses to questions about burnout were the worst since they were included in the survey in 2018.

A third of trainees said they felt burnt out to a high or very degree because of their work, compared to around a quarter in previous years. Three in five said they always or often felt worn out at the end of a working day, and 44% felt their work was ‘emotionally exhausting’ to a high or very high degree.

Trainees’ responses to seven wellbeing-related questions across all medical specialties were more negative than in previous years.

Although trainees and trainers reported worsening levels of burnout, the quality of training remained high, and similar to pre-pandemic levels.

Eight in ten (81%) of trainees said they were on course to meet their curriculum outcomes for the year, although one in ten – a substantial number in real terms – were concerned about progressing through their training.

Read the national training survey 2021 summary report.