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Changing perceptions: a multicentre survey of final-year medical students’ and junior doctors’ perceptions of diabetes and endocrinology
  1. Amar Puttanna1,
  2. Megan L Byrne2,
  3. Susannah N Eyre-Brook3,
  4. Mayuri Madhra4,
  5. Munachiso Nwokolo2,
  6. Anna Mitchell5
  1. 1 Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2 Department of Diabetes, School of Life Course Sciences, King’s College London, London, UK
  3. 3 Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, Gateshead, UK
  4. 4 Sunderland Royal Hospital, Sunderland, UK
  5. 5 Department of Endocrinology, Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Amar Puttanna, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Birmingham B71 4HJ, UK; amarputtanna{at}


Purpose of the study The National Health Service is experiencing a recruitment crisis across many medical specialties. Diabetes and endocrinology (D&E) is failing to fill training posts with only 77%, 83% and 73% of posts filled overall in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Study design We surveyed 316 final-year medical students and undifferentiated trainees (from foundation programme doctors to core medical trainees), across the South Thames, Northern and West Midlands deaneries in England to gain an understanding of perceptions of the specialty.

Results 9% of respondents were considering a career in D&E. Factors such as ‘being the medical registrar’ (27%), being a ‘non-procedural specialty’ (23%) and ‘looking after majority of general medical admissions’ (22%) were cited as the most common reasons why D&E is an unattractive career choice. 51% reported inadequate exposure to D&E. Factors that made respondents more likely to want to pursue a career in D&E included having undertaken a placement in the specialty and having exposure to outpatient clinics. Methods to improve awareness and uptake, such as increased teaching and clinical exposure, and the opportunity to attend taster events were frequently highlighted.

Conclusions The results from this survey, the first of its kind on perceptions of D&E as a career pathway, reveal a worrying lack of interest in, and exposure to, D&E among current final-year medical students and undifferentiated trainees. These issues must be addressed in order to improve D&E recruitment rates.

  • diabetes & endocrinology
  • medical education & training
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  • Contributors AP, MN and AM: planned the study. AP, MB, SE-B, MM and MN: conducted the survey. AP: responsible for overall content. AP, MN, MB and AM: wrote the manuscript with input from MM and SE-B. AP and AM: reviewed the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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