Health Education England has announced a package of measures intended to improve the quality of life of GP trainees.
Central to this new initiative will be a limitation on the number of times that junior doctors rotate through various NHS hospitals.
HEE medical director Wendy Reid has indicated that hospitals will attempt to ensure that GPs are provided with information about relatives 10 weeks before they are due to begin work.
The new approach comes at a time when HEE has been criticised by some members of the healthcare profession.
In particular, the body was subjected to opprobrium for its position during the junior doctors’ contract dispute.
HEE was lambasted for sending a message to NHS trusts warning that trainees could be removed if individual trusts decided against imposing new contractual terms.
Defending the approach of Health Education England, the aforementioned Read indicated her belief that the organisation does have the best interest of doctors at heart, and asked for understanding regarding the reality that Health Education England must operate within the existing system.
“We are publicly funded and have a responsibility to do the right thing with public money. I accept people’s perceptions are different but what I would say is we are trying to do the things that we need to do to improve the quality of training and generally the quality of people’s lives.”
Reid Hopes that the latest message will undo some of the damage which occurred during the contract procedure, outlining that relatively straightforward alterations can be made to the lives of junior doctors, which will result in significant improvement.
“We have been working with the BMA but also with employers to look at some of what have been called non-contractual issues. It is quite clear that the junior doctors’ dispute has thrown up issues that are not to do with the contract. The education needs and the service needs are not opposed to each other, they are part of the same thing and if we do it better that is good for junior doctors and the system. Looking at the system, we can see some changes that we can make that will improve their lives and some are simple changes.”
Aside from the rotation plan, Health Education England has also suggested that there should be new targets put in place regarding contracts with hospital providers.
The proposed system would require information to be provided to junior doctors directly.
Health Education England has also launched a review of the bureaucracy which surrounds the annual review of competence progression.
It is hoped that this can be tweaked so that the process in future can encourage reflection and discussion about the qualities and professionalism required in the profession.