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Health Education England and BMA joint statement on GP out of hours working

28 February 2018

Professor Sheona MacLeod, Deputy Medical Director for Education Reform, Health Education England (HEE) commented: 

The BMA and HEE are committed to improving the quality of education and training for doctors in training, ensuring that they feel valued and supported as they train. These elements are key components in guaranteeing high quality care, and continuing to re-build morale in the medical workforce.

One of the ten targeted issues that have come under review by the Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives group, made up of the BMA, HEE, GMC, NHS Employers and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, was that of difficulties arising from late rota notification. In response, the Code of Practice was developed to ensure trainees are informed of their final rota with six weeks’ notice. However, in GP training, where GP out of hours shifts are allocated rather than chosen by the trainee, many trainees are given less than four weeks’ notice of their shifts.

The BMA and HEE strongly encourage systems that allow GP trainees to choose out of hours shifts flexibly themselves, but where this is not possible trainees must be given at least six weeks’ notice of their out of hours shifts in line with the Code of Practice. Where this has not been achieved, trainees are encouraged to contact their training programme director or their local HEE out of hours lead so that HEE can monitor compliance and investigate further if necessary.