Which Core Training Pathway has the most satisfied doctors?

Applications for core training pathways opened this week!

Today, we’re analysing the 2018 GMC survey data to explore which of the main training pathways at Core level are rated highest for overall satisfaction and workload nationally. Look out for our accompanying articles where we’ll be breaking the data down further to look at how these ratings vary by deanery.

We’ve focused on six of the main training pathway options at CT1/ST1 level: Core Medical, Core Surgical, Core Anaesthetics, Core Psychiatry, Run Through Emergency Medicine (RTT) and GP training.

Unfortunately, due to the layout of the GMC survey data, we are unable to include the ACCS trainee ratings (for medicine, anaesthetics and emergency medicine streams respectively) – so we’ve only included the core pathways.


Data is sourced from the GMC National Training Survey 2018. Please head here to access the source data in full and read a full explanation of the methodology used by the GMC.


Core Anaesthetics takes the lead for overall satisfaction.

Trainees report both the highest satisfaction and the most manageable workload for Core Anaesthetics Training. Core Psychiatry and GP Training run close behind.

Emergency Medicine trainees report the worst workload ratings – but Core Medical and Core Surgical training have worse satisfaction rates.


Does the most competitive pathway produce the happiest trainees?




Actually, no! With almost 3 applicants per place, Core Surgery is the most competitive training pathway. But in terms of trainee satisfaction, it’s one of the worst-performing across the board.2018 Competition Ratios sourced from Health Education England.

Core Anaesthetics is the second most competitive specialty – applicants have clearly realised how highly regarded it is for work-life balance and overall satisfaction.

GP and psychiatry training have the least competitive rates but are rated highly by trainees.

For the full list of all possible training pathways and their competition ratios head here.

We’ve interviewed a huge range of specialty doctors about their working lives, from Anaesthetic Registrars to Geriatric Consultants – head over to our My Life as a Doctor collection to read further insights into the different specialties.


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The figures in this article are blended for all regions to give a national average. Next week we’ll be analysing regional data to see how satisfaction for the core training pathways varies across the deaneries.

The GMC data also includes other variables such as quality of clinical supervision and rota design – our Training Navigator will help you delve further into these ratings for specific rotations. These are the most comprehensive and up-to-date ratings for individual NHS hospital rotations, with five-star ratings based on the results of the 2018 GMC National Training Survey. For our analysis of trainee satisfaction for all medical specialties, head here.

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