Junior doctors to receive extended flexible-working arrangements

An agreement between the BMA and NHS has been reached to extend flexible-working arrangements for junior doctors.

Less than full time (LTFT) working will no longer have to be justified with specific requirements such as health reasons, religious reasons etc.

The agreement will see a third category of LTFT working introduced.

The existing pilot scheme sees specialties such as emergency medicine, obs and gynae and paediatrics are able to work at 50%, 60% or 80% of a full-time post according to BMA.

Professor Sheona MacLeod, Deputy Medical Director, Health Education England said:

“I am delighted that work of HEE’s Enhancing Junior Doctors Working lives is being highlighted. The collaborative group led by HEE, with the BMA JDC, NHS Employers and the GMC committed to extending flexible-working arrangements to all junior doctors in England.”

“We have already extended less-than-full-time training to paediatrics and obstetrics & gynaecology and with the support of all our partners we intend to roll this out to all doctors in training, addressing one of the key issues of concern to this vital part of the NHS workforce.”

Doctors in training had been telling HEE they want greater flexibility in the way they train, including the ability to train less than full-time.

HEE ran a pilot of this in emergency medicine which proved very successful, with trainees telling them they were experiencing less stress, and that they felt more able to offer high-quality care to patients and were more likely to remain in training and the NHS.

HEE say that the Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives programme was established in March 2016.

It was set up to address a range of issues that were having a significant negative impact on the quality of life of doctors in training.

“The interim People Plan makes clear the commitment to provide better support for junior doctors at the start of their career, by improving their working experiences and paying greater attention to their health and wellbeing.”

“The initiatives, outlined in the first Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives report and subsequent progress reports, aim to tackle some of these issues.”

Progress report 2019

HEE say on the 2019 progress report of the Enhancing Working Lives programme:

 “Enhancing the flexibility and resilience of our workforce is a key theme of the interim People Plan and we recognise that doctors in training aspire to have flexibility in choice of training location, specialty, the pace of training, opportunities to take breaks from training, and opportunities to work and train less than full time.”

 “The Enhancing Junior Doctors’ Working Lives progress report 2019 outlines the expanded opportunities for training less than full time, flexible portfolio training and development of Out of Programme Pause, cementing the flexible training agenda at the forefront of this programme.”

“The work outlined in this report in in direct response to feedback from doctors in training themselves.”

“We are engaging with doctors in training and have made significant progress on many of the areas they have said were important.

“We will continue to make improvements as we move through the next year.”