Medical Council News


Medical Council publishes first ever survey of all trainee doctors

Findings capture views on quality of training in Ireland

The Medical Council today (8th December 2014) published the findings of the first ever survey of all trainee doctors in Ireland. The Your Training Counts report was launched by the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD at an education seminar on supportive learning environments for doctors in Dublin today.
Speaking at the launch today, Minister Varadkar said: “This survey gives us an insight into the experiences of doctors under-going specialist training, their views and their priorities. The survey will be conducted annually and will allow us to make changes to the training system to improve doctors' experience and monitor the extent to which they feel any changes are making a difference. Some of the findings are very encouraging, especially the positive feedback about the quality of care and teamwork. However, others are worrying including experiences of being undermined, bullying and lack of clarity about their role and responsibilities. As someone who went through post-graduate training in the last decade, I am personally behind any and all attempts to improve things. I congratulate the Medical Council on producing the survey.”

President of the Medical Council, Prof Freddie Wood said: “The value of this report will be in the debate and discussion that follows. Critical questions about medical education and training can only be answered by open dialogue with everyone involved in medical education and training in Ireland – trainees, medical educators and employers. Your Training Counts puts the voice of trainees at the centre of this discussion. The report helps build an evidence base for informed decision-making, and is a baseline from which we can track continuous improvement in the coming years. ”

To allow for international comparisons, the report utilised questions from previous medical education surveys in the Netherlands and UK. The findings include:

• 85% of trainees reported that they rated the quality of care provided at the clinical site as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
• Areas of the clinical learning environment rated highly were “Consultants'/GP’s role”, “Teamwork” and “Peer collaboration”; weaknesses included the attributes of “Feedback”, “Professional relations between consultants” and “Role of the educational supervisor”.
• While most trainees reported a positive overall experience of induction and orientation to the clinical environment as a place to work and learn, many trainees identified deficiencies in core areas, for example almost 30% of trainees said they didn’t receive an explanation of their role and responsibilities.
• 3-in-10 trainees reported personal experience of bullying and undermining behaviour.

Speaking about the results, Medical Council CEO, Ms Caroline Spillane added: “It is clear that many trainees enjoy a positive experience and many critical components of the clinical learning environments, like team work and peer collaboration are working well. The important thing now is that all involved in medical education and training take stock and look to replicate the good practice highlighted in the report and address the less positive issues arising. Further research and examination will be required in some areas, but we hope that everyone involved in medical education acts on these results and forms part of a collective, comprehensive response.”

A second Your Training Counts report will be published early in 2015, and will look in detail at career intentions, emigration and the health of trainees.


Notes for Editors.
1. The Medical Council regulates medical doctors in the Republic of Ireland, and one of its key responsibilities is setting and monitoring standards of medical training and education.
2. The Council, Health Research Board and the HSE have committed to funding of €300,000 for two medical education research projects – on the subjects of medical professionalism and the opportunities and challenges for trainee doctors’ learning in clinical environments.
3. In 2015, the Council will commence inspections of clinical training sites as part of its work in quality assuring postgraduate medical education.

For further information please contact:

Lorna Farren

Medical Council Communications Manager

0879130288 /

View the presentation powerpoint from the launch of the Your Training Counts Report.