RCPCH responds to NHS latest measures to improve working conditions for doctors

NHS England has pledged to enhance choice and flexibility with rotas, while reducing payroll errors and the financial burden of course fees.
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On 25 April NHS England published a letter outlining a range of measures they are undertaking to improve the working lives of doctors in training. The measures include:

  • Enhancing choice and flexibility with rotas by reinstating monitoring of compliance with rota requirements and highlight examples of best practice and review the provision of self-rostering options across England as part of Enhancing Doctors’ Working Lives (EDWL) Reporting programme.
  • Providing intensive support to providers with the highest need, including a review and redesign of payroll processes to reduce payroll errors and issue best practice guidance to identify and address root causes and implications of payroll errors and set out a number of recommendations designed to support organisations in improving their payroll practices.
  • Adopting a national training framework and an eLearning online training portal which will ensure mandatory training is completed and reported consistently. This new system will mean doctors will no longer need to repeat mandatory training when moving between hospitals.

Chair of the Trainees Committee, Emma Dyer and Vice-Chair, Emma Coombe said:

These measures announced from NHS England are very welcome and are essential for the wellbeing of our workforce. It is good to see a number of recommendations from our Trainee Charter along with those from the College’s Thrive Roadmap being taken forward following calls we and the College have been making for some time.

We do however remain extremely concerned about the retention and the wider wellbeing of our trainees, and we await to see how and when these recommendations will be put into practice. Although these measures are a positive step forward, there is much more that is needed, including ensuring that essential infrastructure is in place for high quality training. NHS England must also ensure that there is protected time for educators and examiners to enable high standards of training to be maintained and protected.

More generally, trainees need to have confidence that NHS England is investing in them, not only now but for the long term. We want to ensure not only the retention of trainees, but also that they can thrive in their lifelong careers and continue to deliver the essential services they provide.  It is vital that NHS England continue to engage on strategies to improve working conditions and to build on the measures recently announced.

We look forward to the speedy introduction of these measures and we will continue to engage with stakeholders on how further improvements can be made to working conditions for doctors both now and for the future.