NMC responds to GMC findings around medical workforce pressures

Published on 23 June 2023

The General Medical Council (GMC) has warned that workplace pressures including burnout and workload are driving doctors out of their profession – chiming with the latest NMC data which reveals many nursing and midwifery professionals are leaving for similar reasons.

In its report, The state of medical education and practice in the UK 2023, the GMC finds that 42 percent of doctors said they felt unable to cope with their workload, and that a ‘vicious cycle’ of workplace challenges is undermining patient safety.

Similarly, the NMC reported in May that more than half of those who left the nursing and midwifery register last year did so earlier than planned. There were five compounding workplace factors that frequently influenced people’s decisions to leave: burnout or exhaustion; lack of support from colleagues; concerns about the quality of people’s care; workload; and staffing levels.

The GMC has also highlighted that doctors from ethnic minority groups feel less supported by their colleagues than white doctors. The NMC has repeated calls for employers to foster the most inclusive and supportive environments possible, since the evidence is clear that racism towards professionals impacts on the quality of care they’re able to give, leading to worse health outcomes for people.

Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“While the GMC’s findings make for tough reading, I welcome them. By listening to our professions we can identity and tackle the issues getting in the way of safe, effective and kind care for people.

“The fact that burnout and high workloads are driving away doctors echoes the factors that cause many of our own professionals to leave, taking vital knowledge and skills that improve people’s health and wellbeing with them. And the fact that doctors from ethnic minorities feel less supported is further evidence of the need for employers everywhere to foster inclusive, anti-racist cultures that support all professionals to thrive.

“These findings emphasise the need for a collaborative response to issues that cut across the health and care professions. I hope the regulatory insight that we and our colleagues at the GMC are able to share with the sector will help leaders focus on the right issues in their retention strategies, for the benefit of people who use services.”

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