The GMC national training survey: Does it have an impact?

Future Healthc J. 2020 Oct;7(3):205-207. doi: 10.7861/fhj.2020-0031.


The General Medical Council (GMC) national trainee survey (NTS) monitors junior doctor training experience annually, which is then used by organisations such as Health Education England to inform quality management. Its validity as an assessment of the learning environment to drive improvement is frequently questioned; currently there are no published evidence-based studies to demonstrate its impact. To explore the effects of the GMC survey, we carried out a retrospective cohort study using publicly available GMC NTS survey data. We compared 2018 and 2019 scores in paediatrics in London across all 18 survey indicators, to identify any relationship between these 2 consecutive years of data. Our findings demonstrate that results of the GMC NTS in 1 year are associated with a change in the NTS the following year, with both an improvement in below average departments and deterioration in above average units. These findings suggest that annual GMC NTS results may have an impact on the quality of learning environments as measured in subsequent surveys - therefore they act as both a measure and a potential modifier of outcome.

Keywords: GMC; HEE; NTS; feedback; medical education.