quote HEE facebook linkedin twitter bracketDetail search file-download keyboard-arrow-down keyboard-arrow-right close event-note

What should we call doctors in training?

Doctors in training are a highly skilled and valued part of the workforce. The NHS is working together to establish whether a single, consistent term will convey their competence to deliver high quality care, and if it is required in order to avoid causing confusion for patients and other staff.


Junior doctors are highly educated, highly trained and highly skilled professionals who form a large and vital part of the NHS workforce, delivering high quality patient care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Their skills and experiences should be recognised in their title, helping them to feel valued and motivated. It is also important that patients are clear about the role of clinicians who are treating them.

During our work to enhance the working lives of doctors in training, we heard that many in the profession were unhappy with the term ‘junior doctors’ (and even the term “trainees” or “doctors in training”).  There is concern that current terminology does not reflect the skills and experience of these professionals and may also be confusing to patients and other healthcare staff.

There is no nationally agreed terminology and a wide variety of terms are used across the system to describe doctors in training. In addition, there are around 40,000 doctors providing vital clinical services for patients, often with highly specialised skills and working at a senior level who have not become consultants, but are not in training.

On behalf of the NHS, Mrs Scarlett McNally, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Council Member of the Royal College of Surgeons has been asked, to lead a task and finish group to explore the terminology and see if a system wide agreement can be reached. To help inform this work, we have launched an engagement exercise asking for views.

Respond to the engagement exercise by Thursday 6 September 2018.

During our work to enhance the lives of doctors in postgraduate training, we heard that many in the profession were unhappy with the term ‘junior doctors’ - and even with “trainees” or “doctors in training”.  

There is concern that current terminology does not reflect the skills and experience of these professionals and may also be confusing to patients and other healthcare staff.

On behalf of the NHS, Mrs Scarlett McNally, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, has been asked to lead an independent task and finish group to look at what we call doctors at this level.

Read More

If you found this content useful you can share it on your favourite social network:

Or just grab the url to share wherever you like: