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Exception reporting joint statement

The BMA is a part of a working group, jointly set up with NHS Improvement, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, British Medical Association, Care Quality Commission, General Medical Council, Health Education England and NHS Employers, to collaboratively improve the effectiveness and acceptability of exception reporting for both trainees and employers.

Together we have agreed a joint statement on exception reporting, which represents a commitment to standardise exception reporting across England for junior doctors. The statement also recognises the need to pursue improvements to the reporting mechanism and support for Guardians of Safe Working.

Dr Mairi Reid, BMA junior doctors TCSN subcommittee lead for exception reporting, said: "The exception reporting system, secured during contract negotiations two years ago, is vital in ensuring doctors are encouraged and feel able to highlight times when their working hours and shift patterns are non-compliant and - ultimately - unsafe.  

"It also seeks to guarantee that doctors are able to obtain the full amount of educational experience required to progress through their training programme competently. 

"When this works properly, it can be highly effective and prompt trusts to take immediate and necessary action to ensure staff and patients are protected from future incidents, and doctors do not miss training opportunities.  

"However, this is not always the case due to a number of systematic limitations.

"Through the creation of this group, we hope to standardise the exception reporting process across England, and ensure that it is effective and easy to engage with. Further, we will put pressure on trusts who do not support the process, noting with real concern reports that some trainees feel actively discouraged from raising concerns about their rotas.

"Alongside the other organisations in this group, the BMA believes it can ensure this important system becomes ingrained in the workplace culture across England and leads to a marked improvement in wellbeing for all junior doctors."

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Download the joint statement