Medical school does not prepare doctors for the reality of working life in the NHS, according to a survey published at the British Medical Association's (BMA) annual conference today.
Over the past 10 years, the BMA has tracked 543 doctors who qualified in 1995. In the final annual survey, the doctors were asked how their working lives compared with what they had expected when they graduated from medical school.
Of the 486 doctors who replied, six in 10 said reality had not matched their expectations.
Reasons included poor quality of life, greater stress, long hours, lack of autonomy, and pressures resulting from government targets. Some said they had been very idealistic at medical school and unprepared for the reality of life as a doctor.
Simon Eccles, chair of the BMA's Junior Doctors Committee, said medical schools should listen to this message from doctors who are coming to the end of their training and act accordingly.
The report suggests that a mentoring scheme might be introduced at medical school to better prepare doctors for life in the NHS.