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​HEE pledges £10 million to help trainee doctors return to work

Health Education England is investing £10 million in a new scheme to help trainee doctors return to training after taking time out.

HEE said that the Department of Health has committed to recurrent annual funding of £10 million for HEE to deliver the scheme from April 2017

As part of the programme, HEE has announced 10 commitments that it says will bring about ‘real improvements to the return to training process, and the support these doctors receive.’

HEE said that it would commit to:

  • ring-fencing funding for doctors to access activities and resources in support of their return
  • coordinating and centralising a defined process for exit, time out and re-entry to the training programme
  • commissioning training and resources for Educational Supervisors to help them better support trainee returners
  • collaborating internally and with the wider system to identify and address interdependencies and raise the profile of returners’ voices
  • conducting further investigation to develop a “menu” of bespoke return to training approaches for trainees
  • capturing data on returners so we can continue to provide individualised support for returning trainees where and when it is required.

HEE’s director of education and quality and medical director, Professor Wendy Reid, said: ‘This piece of work is about bringing about improvements to patient care, by better caring for our doctors. The NHS’ lifeblood is its people, and we know if we are to deliver high quality, compassionate care, we must treat our own staff in accordance with these same principles. This report challenges us to bring about some major improvements in the way we approach this, especially at a local level.’

The move comes months after dedicated health education supervisors were asked to take voluntary redundancy after a cut in budgets.