Trainee doctors spend most of their time on administration

By Tom Moberly, 08 September 2010

Junior doctors spend more time on administrative tasks than in formal training, a BMA report has concluded.

The BMA’s Cohort Study has traced the career progression of 430 medical graduates who qualified in 2006. Researchers working on the study asked junior doctors in their first year of specialist training to indicate how much time they spent undertaking different activities at work.

Respondents said that most (66%) of their time was spent on clinical duties. However, 14% was spent carrying out administrative tasks, more than the time they spent in formal training in a clinical setting (13%).

Dr Shree Datta, chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctor Committee said it was ‘galling’ to find doctors ‘spending more time filling forms than learning the skills they need to be the consultants and GPs of tomorrow’.

‘It is especially worrying, at a time when junior doctors’ working hours have fallen, to see so much of their time taken up on paperwork,’ Dr Datta said.

‘Trainees should, first and foremost, be clinicians who are learning their trade. For the benefit of our patients, employers need to look closely at the workload of junior doctors to ensure that their time is being used appropriately.’

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