While the GMC's review of medical education and practice is an annual publication, this year's issue captures experience, insight, and disruption from an extraordinary and unforgettable year for the profession.
Responding to the publication of the report, a spokesperson for the College said:
"We are now getting to the point at which it is possible to look back over quite a lengthy 'COVID period'. While we have a very difficult winter to get through, there is light on the horizon and the potential for a year in which containment, vaccination, and ultimately a gradual return to 'normality' offers us a route out of the pandemic.
This report captures the intensity of the pandemic experience and the extent to which it disrupted and transformed the lives of medical professionals, training, and the practice of medicine. While many of these experiences were traumatic and even devastating, it was also a year in which the profession innovated in a way that was always possible but rarely permissible. That so many medical professionals report an enhanced sense of autonomy and agency is a very positive thing and something we should all try to keep a hold of in the years ahead.
The report also lays bare the inequalities that are so deeply set within our healthcare system. These inequalities were to the fore this year in mortality rates, illness, exposure to dangerous work - and now, with BAME colleagues less likely to see positive workplace improvements. Our own work in this area will help us get beyond what the GMC describes as the 'evidence gathering' phase, and towards positive action that makes a real difference.
Finally the report acknowledges what has been an immensely challenging and unusual year for trainees. Every speciality has had to work hard to cope with the demands of delivering medical education within the COVID context. There is no doubt that trainees have missed many of the opportunities that are considered standard in any other year. We'll continue to work with trainees and other educational organisations to deliver what is needed to support our trainees through the remainder of this period."