Job planning

Last updated:

What are job plans?

Job plans are an annual agreement between the employer and the doctor setting out:

  • What work you do for the trust
  • When that work is done
  • Where it is done
  • How much time you are expected to be available for work
  • What this work will deliver for the employer, employee and patients
  • What resources are necessary for the work to be achieved
  • What flexibility there is around the above

Job planning is not just about agreeing a weekly timetable - it can be used to drive improvements in patient care.


Steps to achieving a good outcome

Your job plan is part of your contract of employment. This means that, like any other aspect of your contract, your employer must consult with you and try to reach agreement over any proposed change. Your job plan must be fully agreed, and not imposed and based on a partnership approach with a fair resolution of differences. This is part of your national terms and conditions of service and a unilateral imposition could amount to a breach of contract.

Either you or your clinical line manager can request an interim job plan review anytime. You don’t need to wait for your annual job plan review if your circumstances have changed, affecting your work requirements or workload.


The job planning process should be:

  • undertaken in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation
  • completed in good time
  • reflective of the professionalism of being a doctor
  • focused on measurable outcomes that benefit patients
  • consistent with the objectives of the NHS, the organisation, teams and individuals
  • clear about the supporting resources the trust will provide to ensure that objectives can be met
  • transparent, fair and honest
  • flexible and responsive to changing service needs during each job plan year
  • fully agreed and not imposed
  • focused on enhancing outcomes for patients whilst maintaining service efficiency
  • consistent with the principles set out in the Follett review, in the case of clinical academics


Resources tailored for you

Get detailed information on job planning in our guides tailored for you.


Ensuring safe consultant working patterns - Scotland
Job planning for your first consultant post - Scotland
Team service planning - Scotland
Managing the consultants job plan review - Scotland (PDF) - Please note that this guidance is currently under review
Consultants - England (PDF)
Consultants - Northern Ireland
Consultants - Wales (PDF)
Examples of consultants' objectives

General Practitioners

GP job planning guidance (PDF)

SAS doctors

Staff, Associate Specialists and Specialty Doctors

Medical academics

Integrated job planning for Clinical academic consultants and Senior academic GPs - England (PDF)
Integrated job planning for Clinical academic consultants and Senior academic GPs - Scotland (PDF)

Don't put it off, sort out your academic job plan! Dr David Strain takes you through how to plan a clinical academic job plan - what to do, what mistakes to avoid and how you can improve your working life through a well organised job plan.


Checklist, diaries and model job plans