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HEE pilot allows applicants to swap GP posts to preferred location

GP trainees have been allowed to swap training posts to work in a preferred location under a new Health Education England pilot.

The pilot saw 10 junior doctors, of which nine were GP trainees, switch the location of their training post with a vacant position in an area of their choice after having accepted an initial offer.

The report said the scheme aims to ‘help doctors in training placed in a different region to their partner or family’.

According to HEE, the number of trainees choosing to switch their training post was low, due to the large number of trainees ‘wishing to train together in competitive regions such as London, where all posts had already been filled’.

The programme was launched for the 2017 recruitment round as part of a swath of schemes aimed at improving the working environment for junior doctors.

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Other changes include:

  • An annual and recurring £10m fund to support junior doctors return to the clinical environment after extended time away;
  • Stronger rules on how trusts must adhere to the Code of Practice, including giving adequate notice for rota changes;
  • Further flexibility in the recruitment process, allowing trainees to change their rotation preferences if their circumstances change, as well as improvements for applicants with specific health needs.

Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, BMA junior doctors committee chair, and Dr Sarah Hallett, BMA junior doctors committee deputy co-chair (education and training), said:

‘The work that this committee has overseen since the inception of these projects during the junior doctor contract dispute two years ago has contributed to some of the most significant changes to postgraduate medical training for a number of years.’

Professor Wendy Reid, HEE director of education and quality and medical director, said: ‘I am delighted with the excellent progress made and outlined in this new report. It is important that we continue to empower doctors in training to voice their concerns regarding their training environment and act on them.

‘This report details the significant progress we have made over the last year. However, we are not complacent and recognise that there is still much to be done. This work is a key priority for HEE.’ 

This comes after BMA and Government officials reopened negotiations of the junior doctor contract earlier this month.