Medical Council News


Your Training Counts Health and Wellbeing Report Launched

Your Training Counts report captures the health and wellbeing of trainee doctors in Ireland

Doctors working over 60 hours per week and those bullied are more likely to have poorer health and wellbeing

The Medical Council today (30th April 2015) published its Your Training Counts report on health and wellbeing. This is the second report from the first-ever survey of trainee doctors in Ireland, Your Training Counts.

Speaking about findings on health and wellbeing, President of the Medical Council, Professor Freddie Wood said: “In our view, this topic is critical to medical education and training and to the future of the health system since, without good health, doctors in training cannot fulfil their potential for good professional practice. It is important to remember that doctors are no different from the rest of society and that they too need to look after their health and wellbeing in the same way as their patients. These findings highlight the need for clinical learning environments which support health and wellbeing for trainee doctors and overcome the historic culture of inattention to self-care within the medical profession.”
The findings of the report include:

  • Over 8-in-10 (88%) trainees rated their general health as being good or better; 2-in-10 (23%) rated their general health as excellent.
  • Many trainees reported good levels of engagement, indicating that they approach their work and training with vigour, dedication and positive absorption. 
  • While 6-in-10 (62%) of trainee doctors rated their quality of life as being good or better, 2-in-10 (18%) rated it as poor or very poor.
  • While many trainees reported positive mental health and wellbeing, 2-in-10 (21%) reported low scores on a rapid assessment of wellbeing tool which presents a concern for possible mental health and wellbeing difficulties and a potential need for support. This finding is in line with international research on mental health. 
  • Trainee doctors who reported experiencing bullying and undermining (3-in-10) also reported poorer health and wellbeing across a number of indices: general health, quality of life, mental health and wellbeing, and work engagement. 
  • Trainees who reported working greater number of hours per week (over 60 hours) also reported poorer general health, quality of life, and mental health and wellbeing.
  • Trainees working in hospitals reported poorer quality of life ratings than trainees in GP practices.

Speaking about the results, Medical Council CEO, Ms Caroline Spillane added: “It is positive that the majority of trainees are in good health, however, good health is more than physical fitness and freedom from disease. This data has raised issues about the quality of life and wellbeing of trainee doctors which will not be ignored. The associated link between poorer health and wellbeing with experiences of bullying and longer working hours is particularly of concern. We will be sharing these findings with all parties involved in medical education and it’s important that we have a collective response so that trainee doctors experiencing poorer health or quality of life receive the support necessary at this pivotal stage of their career”.

This is the second report from the 2014 annual Your Training Counts survey. A third report, focusing on career choices, emigration, and retention will be published in the coming months. Data collection will meanwhile begin shortly for the second annual Your Training Counts survey. Next month, all of the approximately 3,000 trainee doctors in Ireland will be invited to share their views on their experience of medical education and training.