Training the next generation

Source: NHE Jan/Feb 18

Professor Wendy Reid, national medical director and executive director of education and quality at Health Education England (HEE), outlines the work that her organisation will be carrying out in 2018 to support training programmes all across the NHS workforce.

Although the new year often symbolises a new start, new ambitions or goals to strive towards, at HEE we still have a clear priority for our work in 2018 – and that’s continuing our journey on reforming the way medical education and training is delivered in response to feedback from trainee doctors, royal colleges, educational supervisors and others.

Enhancing trainee doctors’ lives

We’re continuing to listen to trainee doctors and providing continued commitments to raising the standards and quality of their training, which in return provides the best quality of care for patients.

By facilitating excellent-quality learning and development, we can empower our trainee doctors to unlock their potential and meet the ever-evolving needs of patients and services.

We want to ensure all our doctors in training are adequately supported, valued and provided with the means to become excellent versatile clinicians, integrated into multi-professional teams within changing service models.

As an organisation, we are keen to listen to all of those involved in training and use our influence to improve patient experience through the care we give our healthcare professionals.

We will continue to address the issues that we hear about through our Enhancing Junior Doctors Working Lives programme, and we will use our quality framework to ensure we continuously improve the working environment in which doctors train.

To achieve this, we will be developing more flexible training models, enhancing the feedback and processes for progression for doctors in training, and looking at how we support the progression of all healthcare learners.

Enhanced Preferencing

As part of this work, we have introduced ‘Enhanced Preferencing’ to the Oriel application process, allowing all applicants to update their preferred place of work after posts have been offered. ‘Enhanced Preferencing’ was developed through close work with the BMA’s Junior Doctors’ Committee.

This change will make it easier for trainee doctors to work and live closer to their partners and families, and to achieve a better work/life balance. 

We have also reviewed the pre-allocation process, introduced last year, for doctors with special circumstances, such as having caring responsibilities or living with sickness or disability. 

In total, 47 doctors who entered training in August 2017 benefitted from this process, and I am pleased that we will be running pre-allocation again this year. 


ARCP review

Our progress on reviewing the Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) is moving with some pace as we continue to work with a number of key stakeholders.

The focus is moving towards enhancing the feedback and appraisal elements of training and improving the quality and consistency of the assessments which are needed for progression. We have heard that doctors in training find the current system time-consuming and stressful.

We look forward to an updated edition of the Gold Guide, due to be published soon. The new edition ensures that there is more flexibility in training and we will continue to work with royal colleges and the GMC to explore how credentialing could enhance flexibility.

Supported Return to Training

Following extensive engagement, we published our Supported Return to Training strategy and investment plan in November last year.

These outline how we will deliver better support to doctors who return to training after approved time out, and establish a returner fund that trainees can access to finance a package of support agreed with their educational supervisor.

Doctors in training are highly committed, hard-working and valuable individuals, and it’s right that we support them to restore their skills and confidence if they want to get back into training.

Increased medical school places

This year, we warmly welcome the additional 1,500 medical school places in England from 2018-19, as HEE works with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to manage the allocation of these places.

The first 500 additional places for 2018-19 have been allocated, and we are working with the HEFCE to jointly manage the process for the competitive allocation of the next 1,000 places for 2019-20 and thereafter.

An expert panel will review all the applications in February, and the HEE and HEFCE boards will consider the panel’s recommendations in March this year. This is an opportunity to help to address issues such as widening participation and localised service needs, as well as providing a welcome boost to national doctor numbers and reducing reliance on doctors from overseas.

We will be reviewing the foundation training in England to ensure that it meets the needs of future doctor and provides the future healthcare workforce across the country.

As we move forward into the new year, we will continue to support all our doctors in training, leading and facilitating a cultural change within the medical education system, encouraging continuous quality improvement in the learning environment, and delivering a more individualised support for learning across the medical and wider workforce. 


Top image © sturti




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