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HEE statement on non-contractual support for doctors in training

5 September 2016

Health Education England is taking forward a wide range of initiatives to tackle the non-contractual concerns that have been highlighted by junior doctors. 

These include:

  • HEE has already announced the extension of whistleblowing protection for junior doctors, and will now place into its contracts with local employers a provision that protects junior doctors making patient safety disclosures
  • looking at rotations so that, where possible in terms of delivering the curriculum and while ensuring that doctors are fairly distributed for patient care, trainees do not have to rotate more than necessary so that they can establish a relationship with a single organisation
  • reviewing the application rules for doctors with caring responsibilities and doctors who are in a relationship. HEE is working with stakeholders, particularly the British Medical Association’s Junior Doctors’ Committee (BMA JDC) to look at how we improve recruitment for those doctors with caring responsibilities
  • reviewing recruitment processes for those in partnerships as is currently done in the Foundation Programme
  • improving the communication between deans and trusts to ensure that doctors beginning rotations know their schedule a month earlier than at present, so that there is no more ‘fixed leave’ in rotations
  • work with the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges (AoMRC) to prepare doctors who have taken time out of programme on their return to training using mentoring, simulation training and ‘boot camp’
  • an HEE working group to improve the experience of junior doctors - work is continuing with key partners to:

- identify and remove barriers to flexible working;

- make more equitable use of the study budget; and

- address rising costs for individual trainee.

  • improving standards through the introduction of HEE’s Quality Framework, including in the culture and educational leadership and in supporting and empowering both trainees and educators in order to ensure consistent and high quality learning environments

Professor Wendy Reid, Medical Director, Health Education England said:

‘Doctors in training are a vital part of the NHS family, playing a key role in the delivery of much needed healthcare to patients up and down the country. The anger and disillusionment shown during the recent dispute has drawn into sharp focus the need for  a new approach to make sure that they feel valued and able to work in supportive and accountable environments.

‘We know that being a junior doctor is challenging and stressful without any additional pressures such as poor rota planning, unsupportive senior colleagues and lack of family time.

“HEE continues to work to improve the lives of doctors in training, with junior doctors themselves, as well as the wider NHS. However, to do this effectively we need support and collaboration, as well as challenge when things need improvement, from the whole NHS and medical profession. We cannot afford to lose a generation of junior doctors either through disengagement or a lack of ambition from those charged with their training.’

HEE has been working with others, including postgraduate deans, the BMA JDC, NHS Employers, and the AoMRC to address the challenges that have been highlighted.


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