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Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives

24 June 2019

As we launch the latest progress report on Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives, it is good to see how our work aligns with the priorities set out in the NHS Long Term Plan and Interim People Plan. The need to provide appropriate support and development opportunities for the NHS workforce in clear.  We know there are things to address in medical education and training, and this report details our continued drive, with partners from across the healthcare system, to achieve continuous tangible improvements.

One key issue that doctors in training continue to discuss, is the need for increased flexibility in the training pathways, and so that is one of the key themes of both this year’s Progress Report and the Interim People Plan.

We are pleased that the importance of flexibility has been recognised and that this has been so actively embraced by our partners, including trainees and their representatives on the BMA Junior Doctor Committee, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and individual Medical Royal College members, and the General Medical Council. Their collaboration helps us take this work forward and I would like to thank all those involved for their commitment and support.

The report sets out the progress that we are all continuing to make, in expanding the opportunities for doctors to work and train less than full time, to step out of training and return with individualised support, and to create mechanisms by which the skills they have gained can be taken into consideration in training.

We are continuing to address key issues identified in previous reports, including better deployment of doctors into training posts, helping those that need to be near family achieve that, and working with NHS Improvement to streamline the processes when doctors move to a new location. We are also building on our work to give greater transparency to the cost of training and use of study budgets.

This work is one strand of HEE’s Medical Education Reform Programme, which encompasses a range of other initiatives that will benefit doctors, the NHS and most importantly the UK population and patients. Some of the related strands will be reporting soon, including our reviews of how doctors in training should be appropriately supported and supervised and how we could improve the Foundation training programme.

I am looking forward to continuing to work collaboratively to do all we can to enhance the working lives of the thousands of junior doctors working so hard to deliver care and learn in our current system, and to ensure they feel valued for the wonderful work that they do.

Posted by Sheona MacLeod, Deputy Medical Director for Education Reform

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