RMOs say they get too little support from consultants

By Olive Carterton

The quality of senior doctors’ feedback supervision and mentoring of resident medical officers (RMOs) in private hospitals has come in for criticism in a survey for the GMC.

Good feedback: But RMOs say it is often poor

Many RMOs feel they are saddled with too much responsibility and find being the only doctor on site causes difficulties and negatively impacts their well-being.

RMOs told the online and phone survey they would like protected hours for rest introduced into their shifts, more support with managing their workloads, and more than one of them on shift at a time. 

IFF Research, which ran the survey of 138 of the 650 doctors believed to be RMOs, reported that many had unmet support needs and suggested the GMC considers  improvements.

It said: ‘For some RMOs, the working pattern of an extended shift followed by extended time off was a reason for taking on the role, as the time off provides opportunities for other priorities such as studying or being with family. 

‘However, being the only doctor on-site can at times be difficult and have a negative impact on RMO well-being. In addition, the fact that senior colleagues are not always available to provide advice can leave RMOs feeling that too much responsibility falls on their shoulders. 

‘While RMOs generally feel supported and sufficiently trained, feedback, supervision and mentoring from senior colleagues is an area for improvement.’ 

It said RMOs mostly felt they received sufficient support, were given training opportunities and felt confident they knew what to do if they had a concern personally or about a patient. 

‘However, the quality of supervision and mentoring is viewed to be poor by too many and feedback from senior colleagues is infrequent for many. 

‘Because of the often transitional nature of the role, RMOs would benefit from more frequent feedback. It’s likely a yearly appraisal would not provide much time for RMOs to implement feedback received before moving on to another role. 

‘RMOs would value more regularly scheduled meetings with senior doctors to provide the opportunity for ongoing feedback.’

The GMC said it was keen to further develop its understanding of medical practice in the independent sector and ensure its regulatory approach was relevant and appropriate for doctors in private work.