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Perceptions of junior doctors in the NHS about their training: results of a regional questionnaire
  1. Alexandra Gilbert1,
  2. Peter Hockey2,
  3. Rhema Vaithianathan3,
  4. Nick Curzen4,
  5. Peter Lees5
  1. 1Department of Clinical Oncology, St James's University Hospital, Beckett Street, Leeds, UK
  2. 2Deputy Medical Director, NHS South Central, Newbury, UK
  3. 3Department of Economics, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  4. 4Department of Cardiology, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, Southampton, UK
  5. 5Medical Director, NHS South Central, Newbury; Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management, Southampton University, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alexandra Gilbert, Department of Clinical Oncology, St James's University Hospital, Beckett Street, Leeds LS9 7TF, UK; alexandragilbert{at}


Objective To explore the views of doctors in training about their current roles and their potential value to the National Health Service (NHS) in improving healthcare quality and productivity.

Methods Online questionnaire sent via email to 3766 junior doctors (foundation year one to specialist trainee year 3+) in the NHS South Central region.

Results The response rate was 1479/3766 (39.3%). Respondents recognised the importance of leadership (89.7%), team working (89.2%) and professionalism (97%). Only 3.4% of junior doctors stated they have never acted in a leadership capacity. However, respondents reported a lack of receptivity from their organisations: the majority responded that they do not feel valued by managers (83.3%), the chief executive (77.7%), the organisation (77.3%), the NHS (79.3%) and consultants (58.2%). 91.2% of respondents have had ideas for improvement in their workplace; however, only 10.7% have had their ideas for change implemented. Respondents who had been on a NHS South Central leadership development course were significantly more likely to feel valued by all groups of staff in their organisation. They were also significantly more likely to report having their ideas implemented.

Conclusions Doctors in training have a desire and perceived ability to contribute to improvement in the NHS but do not perceive their working environment as receptive to their skills. Junior doctors who attend leadership training report higher levels of desire and ability to express these skills. This study suggests junior doctors are an untapped NHS resource and that they and their organisations would benefit from more formalised provision of training in leadership.

  • Leadership
  • medical education
  • quality improvement
  • junior physicians
  • organisational change
  • adverse events
  • epidemiology and detection
  • continuing education
  • continuing professional development
  • leadership
  • medical education
  • quality improvement

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Data available on request from the corresponding author.