Induction for junior doctors

A well-planned induction should help you become familiar with your new working environment, and to work effectively, so that you can provide excellent care.

Location: UK
Audience: Junior doctors
Updated: Friday 28 June 2024
Career Progression Article Illustration

Induction is a workplace-specific process that ensures you understand your employer's local practices and policies, both clinical and non-clinical.

Induction is work, and will generally take place during working hours.

Where induction takes place outside working hours – for example, with online modules – you should receive either pay or time off in lieu at an appropriate rate.


What to expect from an induction

The key features of a quality induction programme should include:

  • physical orientation (maps, location of mess, canteen, toilets)
  • organisational orientation - how you fit into the team
  • health and safety (fire safety, manual handling, infection control)
  • information on the organisation's history, services, culture and values, including an appreciation of equality and diversity issues
  • a clear outline of the job and its requirements
  • how structured MMC training will be provided in line with national standards
  • IT and communications arrangements (eg use of intranet)
  • clinical governance, complaints handling and risk management
  • additional induction material may be tailored for doctors new to the NHS in the UK to include tax/NI matters, history and structure of the NHS, life and work in the UK etc
  • clearance to work (Occupational Health, CRB or Disclosure Scotland)
  • arrangements for pay, holiday, details of your working patterns, study leave etc.


Induction and pay

You should be remunerated for your time spent undertaking any tasks associated with induction. Alternatively, you may be granted time off in lieu (TOIL) for your time spent completing these tasks. This should also apply to online and homework based induction programmes.

Your salary should not be withheld until induction is complete, especially if there is a valid reason for being unable to attend induction. In these situations, an alternative time should be arranged for you to undergo induction.

If you have problems with the arrangements surrounding induction particularly if you are asked to complete tasks prior to commencing work or in your own time, contact the BMA for advice and assistance.


What to expect from an employer

As induction is part of your employment, for which you are paid, and any facilities necessary to complete induction should be provided by your employer.

Employers should also provide information about what documentation you need to take with you to your induction, in advance of you starting work.

The responsibility for successful induction does not rest solely with the employers – there is also an onus on you to engage actively with induction procedures and be active participants in the process.


Completing your induction

As patient safety is the primary concern with new employees, induction should be done as quickly as possible and essential elements of induction will need to be provided by the end of the first day of work. It is also of great importance that trainees are able to learn effectively from the start of a placement to ensure maximum benefit from training placements.

Time and facilities should be provided for all trainees at the start of a post to receive adequate induction to their work place.

Doctors who are required to work for their new employer on the night shift which starts on the first day of work, should be prioritised for issue of anything necessary for them to work that night such as essential ID cards, passwords and safety information. Ideally this would be in advance of the first day to allow them adequate safe rest during the day leading up to the shift.

Where it is impossible for trainees to be present at their new employer for induction (for example for trainees who are working overnight immediately prior to commencement of a new post) should have alternative and mutually convenient arrangements made for the induction.


Online inductions

Online inductions are becoming more common with junior doctors being asked to complete online induction modules in a certain time frame.

We have received reports that in some cases employers have said that if online induction is not completed by a certain date pay would be withheld. If your employer threatens to deduct pay for failing to complete an online induction contact the BMA immediately.

Trusts in Northern Ireland use an online induction portal called Training Tracker. It consists of a number of modules which must be completed either prior to commencing employment or as part of the induction process. At the end of each module trainees are required to print a certificate confirming completion and keep in their portfolio.

Online induction, like all forms of induction, is work, and you should receive appropriate remuneration, either pay or time off in lieu.