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Improving the Working Lives of Junior Doctors

On 14th March 2017, the Health Education England has published a comprehensive update report highlighting the progress made by Health Education England to improve working lives of junior doctors.

At the instigation of the BMA, the Health Education England has promised to enhance the working lives of junior doctors outlining a range of actions to make training better and more flexible.

The junior doctors’ contract argument underlined a number of issues including their training and working environment. Unhappiness, anger, reports of low morale and disappointment were widespread.

The Common anxieties involved subjects that sat outside the agreement itself and included different interpretations of the many rules around flexibility in junior doctors training, lack of timely information about rotations and on-call duties and the rising costs of developing as a professional.

A working group was established by Health Education England in partnership with General Medical Council, NHS Employers, the British Medical Association Junior Doctors’ Committee (JDC), Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and trainee representatives.

Some of the main areas for action included:

  • Committing to lessening unfairness in study leave guaranteeing that essential costs of training are not borne by junior doctors;
  • New legal protection for juniors raising patient safety concerns.
  • Rising the attention on appreciating healthcare staff including junior doctors;
  • Creating more flexibility to doctors with regard to placement that will benefit doctors with special circumstances who need to train in a certain areas, those who want to move region and those who want to train in the same areas as their partner.

The Director of Quality and Education and Medical Director, Health Education England, Professor Wendy Reid, said that she is very thankful to all those who have contributed to this work over the past 18 months. There is obviously more to do, and Health Education England will work with all concerned to continue to raise the quality of doctors’ working lives and the quality of their training.

The Executive Medical Director of NHS Improvement, Dr Kathy McLean said that the junior doctors are a vital part of providing great services to patients across the NHS. NHS Improvement will continue to work together with providers to make sure that they are doing what they can to support junior doctors to ensure they feel like appreciated members of the team.

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