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Enhancing Doctors' Working Lives

The Enhancing 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 postgraduate training.

Led by NHS England Workforce, Training and Education (WT&E), it is a cross-system collaboration to drive and deliver system improvements and meaningful change to postgraduate medical 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! Enhancing Doctors’ Working Lives Report 2023

The seventh Enhancing Doctors’ Working Lives Report has now been published and is available for download. The report is a useful resource for doctors and educators and helps NHS Trusts and practices see how the system is working to support doctors.

What are some of the key messages from this year’s report?

  • The mental health and wellbeing of doctors in postgraduate training is important. To help address this, we have made Less Than Full Time (LTFT) Training available to all trainees, prioritising those with protected characteristics.
  • A ‘Building a More SuppoRTTive Culture’ eLearning module has been developed. This resource explores the significance of organisational culture in shaping the experience of postgraduate doctors in training, when returning to work after a break.
  • In August 2023, Flexible Portfolio Training (FPT) was expanded and offered to all specialties across England. This was due to positive findings being found in an evaluation of the programme.
  • There has been an increase in the accessibility of software and information through the use of personalised rotas. This includes features such as accessing a rota through a remote application, live rotas acting as a single source of truth, and automatic approval of leave and swap requests.
  • Information following the merger of Health Education England and NHS England, as we are now known as NHS England, Workforce, Training and Education.

We have included a helpful infographic, which summarises all of the topics and updates covered in the report. You can view this by clicking here. 

Below we have also included supportive statements from our partners:

"This is an excellent report that really demonstrates genuine collaboration that has resulted in significant progress across a number of initiatives, which will make a real difference to postgraduate doctors in training."

Nico Bridge - Assistant Director, Education – GMC

“Over the last seven years the Enhancing Doctors’ Working Lives group have made significant improvements in considering and supporting doctors' wellbeing. Improving flexibility across the training pathways is paramount to doctors, both in terms of supporting retention and the wellbeing of the medical workforce. The BMA is fully supportive of the continued ambition to deliver and expand flexible education and training, including enabling foundation doctors to apply directly for Less Than Full Time Training from August 2023."

Dr Mike Greenhalgh and Dr Ellen Newberry – Deputy Co-Chairs for Education and Training of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee

“We support increased options for flexibility in training and are very pleased to see both the Educator Workforce Strategy published and the digital staff passport moving closer to release.  We’re glad to see expansion of the movement to enhance junior doctors’ working lives to include SAS and LED doctors following the merger of Health Education England (HEE) and NHS England (NHSE). This report also shows that, when it comes to retaining junior doctors, who have significant transferable skills and are future senior decision makers, multiple approaches must be taken – there is no one single solution to this challenge."

Dr Jeanette Dickson - Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

You can read the full 2023 report here.

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.

New national arrangements for the payment of relocation and expenses for doctors in training have been agreed and are in force from 1 November 2020. Read more here.