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Enhancing Junior Doctors' Working Lives

20 July 2021

Trainee doctors have shared their views on their training, working lives and wellbeing in a report, published today by Health Education England (HEE).

Enhancing Junior Doctors Working Lives (EJDWL) is a detailed look at how HEE has supported its trainee doctors over the last year. During 2020, many of them have had their education impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. HEE would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone involved: trainees and trainers, HEE and system colleagues, and the front-line NHS who form the pillar of the NHS community.

Flexible working options, more dynamic recruitment rounds, and a review of the assessment and progression process are some of the positive actions recognised by trainees in this year’s report. HEE has committed to embed the lessons learned from the COVID pandemic into everyday working, and to integrate new processes and approaches to support education and training in the future.

Some of the actions highlighted in the report include:

  • The rollout of Less Than Full Time (LTFT) training to all specialties for category 3 doctors by 2022,following the success of ongoing pilots in selected specialties.
  • Extending a pilot for Out of Programme Pause (OOPP) until the end of 2023, giving more doctors the option to pause their training.
  • Dynamic Recruitment which will enable additional posts to be added when they become available, and means the applicant reserve list is continually considered for new posts.
  • Enhancing generalist skills to support future doctors to feel confident in meeting the complex demands of the healthcare landscape, while promoting selfcare at individual, team and organisational levels

This is the fifth year that the report has been published and this year’s has been co-produced by trainees for trainees. The report aims to support doctors to progress in their training and longer-term medical careers whilst maintaining a healthy and balanced personal life.

The EJDWL programme was established in 2016 to address a range of issues that adversely affect the quality of life of junior doctors and the report and programme is produced in partnership with the BMA Junior Doctors’ Committee, NHS Employers, the GMC, and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC).

Greg Stamp, Leadership and Management Fellow at Health Education England North East and Trainee Registrar in Trauma and Orthopaedics said:

“HEE's spotlight on wellbeing over the past 18 months has encouraged and enabled me on my year out of programme to co-ordinate and deliver five regional wellbeing seminars for trainee doctors. These featured nationally renowned speakers, focusing on resilience, work and home life balance, imposter phenomenon and the importance of sleep hygiene. The EJDWL programme has a strong focus on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and I recently co-chaired the inaugural National Learner Assembly, designed specifically to hear the trainee voice concerning EDI issues. The flexibility to have dedicated time out of programme to develop leadership skills and act as a trainee advocate has been a fantastic experience and I would highly recommend this opportunity to any trainee.”

Sheona Macleod, Deputy Medical Director, Education Reform, Health Education England said

“The biggest challenge facing the NHS is workforce and we are addressing the risks to recruitment and retention  by enabling a medical career to be more tailored to the individual doctor and promoting  a better work life balance. We hope to continue to reduce the risks of stress and burnout and ensure  junior doctors feel highly valued and equipped to deliver high-quality care. The latest EJDWL report reflects what a difficult year it has been  and how essential it has been to provide the necessary support and flexibility to our doctors in training across the country.”

HEE will continue to work with our trainees and system partners to improve the training experience of junior doctors.

For further details about the EJDWL programme of work and to read the full report https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/doctors-training/enhancing-working-lives