The College's Trainees and Members' Committee (T&MC) is aware of the increasing and specific challenges experienced by less than full-time (LTFT) trainees. In response to this, the T&MC launched their first ever survey and the results of this are now available (see below).

The number of doctors working LTFT has grown in recent years. The latest data suggests that 15% of trainees are now working LTFT, the overwhelming majority of whom are female (91%). The main reasons for wishing to work LTFT include childcare, the pursuit of work-life balance, and to prevent burnout.

In the medium to long term, the T&MC believes that more flexibility in working patterns will help support doctors’ wellbeing and address the chronic shortage of consultants across the NHS – by tackling trainee drop out and improving work-life balance and job satisfaction.

The T&MC report, based on the results of a survey of over 600 trainees, found that:

  • Doctors who worked LTFT were overburdened by administrative duties, proportionally more than full time colleagues
  • Two thirds of trainees are considering LTFT training in the future
  • Too few trainees are involved in working pattern planning
  • LTFT training is expensive
  • There is not enough information about working LTFT

Commenting, Dr Anna Olsson-Brown, Chair of the T&MC, said:

The group of doctors working LTFT is growing, yet we tend to know much less about them. We felt that it was important to understand the attitudes towards, and knowledge of, LTFT working. In doing so, we have highlighted the benefits and challenges of working LTFT. We hope to make this form of working more accessible to trainees and consultants in the NHS.

Dr Amy Illsley, Deputy Chair of the T&MC, said:

We think that it is important to give doctors flexibility in their professional working patterns. Underpinning this should be a keen understanding from senior medical colleagues about the needs and interests of trainees and junior doctors. Our report reveals that there could be a better understanding of LTFT working from senior colleagues, and we also want to see change to improve attitudes across the board to LTFT.

Paul Gillen

Contact: Paul Gillen 0131 247 3658