Reforms to junior doctor training and rotation announced

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Junior doctor training and rotas face a series of reforms aimed at tackling ‘non-contractual’ concerns.

Health Education England (HEE) has announced a wide range of initiatives to tackle some of the concerns highlighted by junior doctors. One move will be to reduce the level of rotation experienced by trainees in order to help them ‘establish a relationship’ with a single organization.

HEE said this would be introduced ‘where possible’, ensuring the curriculum could be delivered properly and that doctors were ‘fairly’ distributed for patient care.

Another announced move will see a review of the application rules for doctors who are in relationships or who have caring responsibilities.

A promise was also made to improve communication so that doctors learn their working schedule on a new rotation a month earlier than at present.

A programme will be designed to support doctors who are returning to training after career breaks. This will include mentoring, simulation training and intensive ‘boot camps’.

The organization also promised that work will look at the costs faced by individual trainees, barriers to flexible working and improving standards.

HEE’s Medical Director, Professor Wendy Reid, 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.’