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Enhancing Junior Doctors' Working Lives

The Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives programme was established in March 2016, to address a range of issues that were having a significant negative impact on the quality of life of doctors in training.

We have worked collaboratively with system partners in the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the GMC, NHS Employers and the BMA as well as individual Medical Royal Colleges and the devolved nations to address those issues and provide trainees and stakeholders with yearly updates on our progress.

NEW! The F3 phenomenon: Exploring a new norm and its implications

In February 2022, we published a new report called "The F3 phenomenon: Exploring a new norm and its implications". Over recent years we have seen an increase in the number of junior doctors choosing to take a break from training following completion of the Foundation Programme. This is often to work in a non-training post and the vast majority have returned to training at a later date. As this report identifies, there are numerous factors in why doctors choose to take this break, and the reasons are shaped by the interaction between different personal and professional circumstances.

This programme of work, run jointly with the Royal College of Physicians was commissioned in order to build our understanding of what has been referred to as “the F3 phenomenon”, and what it means for individual doctors and for postgraduate training.

This report confirms what we have observed; taking a break from training post foundation is becoming increasingly common. The increased understanding the report brings will help us in the HEE Medical Education Reform Programme to ensure doctors are adequately supported in their careers and attracted into training programmes through our work to individualise training and to increase training flexibility.

Read the F3 report here.

We have also produced 3 helpful videos which you can watch on YouTube:

The F3 phenomenon

Making the most of the F3 year

Mentorship and supervision in F3

2021 Progress report

This year’s Enhancing Junior Doctor Working Lives report is created as a co-production led by trainees, for trainees.  Throughout the programme updates we share personal experiences, national data and lessons learnt from the COVID pandemic.

We are also delighted to launch the first ever Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives video to accompany and improve accessibility to this report, which can be viewed below.

The Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives progress report 2021 provides an update on achievements over the past year. Specifically, it highlights:

  • Expansion of flexible training opportunities
  • Recruitment and deployment
  • The launch of the National Trainee Engagement Forum (NTEF)
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion in PGMDE
  • Other related Education Reform activities

Read the full update report here.



Some of the important areas we will explore over the next year are:

Virtual learning: We will learn the lessons from simulation practices, such as the easier and much more collaborative sharing of resources, linking these to enhanced utilisation of study leave support, along with the development of better sharing platforms. We will work to develop a community and network of educators in this area to be able to rapidly support areas of increased need in education and training.

Equality, diversity and inclusion: We will continue to maintain the focus on the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda in all of our work and our developments, building on the progress over the last year. This will complement our important work to increase the awareness of health inequalities and population health more generally in training, and the practical ways we can address and prioritise these.

Trainee rotations: Work is underway, led by trainees, to capture and embed best practice regarding training rotations, working with developments in the TIS system, and including the ‘trainee passport’ approach to streamline movements of trainees and their essential checks and induction processes.

Flexibility and wellbeing: We will develop further our resources and approaches to placing the wellbeing of trainees (and indeed all healthcare staff) at the centre of all that we do. This has been a huge focus during the COVID pandemic and will continue to be so, not simply because of the pandemic itself but in response to the pressures of working and training in healthcare more generally.

A mapping document produced by the National Leadership Fellows highlights initiatives from across the country to enhance junior doctors' working lives. It does not aim to be a fully comprehensive document as we are all continuously working on initiatives, but it gives an overview of activity across the country, highlighting good practice that can be replicated elsewhere in the country and also where there may be gaps.

In April 2019, The Royal College of Pathologists provided an update to the above report.