Doctors completing their foundation 1 and 2 years will be entitled to protected weekly time for personal development as part of a charter drawn up from the findings of the Foundation Programme Review.
The review, published last year, was carried out by HEE (Health Education England) in collaboration with the BMA, medical royal colleges and other groups.
The charter, which will take effect from next year, contains 16 provisions detailing best practice and minimum standards that foundation doctors can expect from their LEPs (local education providers).
Among the provisions is a requirement that all F2 doctors be guaranteed an average of two hours a week in their schedules set aside for personal development, with F1 doctors to be allocated one hour a week.
Other rights include ensuring all foundation doctors be given thorough clinical inductions at the start of each new rotation, that employers ensure staff are available to provide adequate support in the workplace and appropriate time and access to rest facilities while working out of hours.
BMA junior doctors committee chair Sarah Hallett (pictured above) said the charter was a hugely welcome step in that it fulfilled one of the central recommendations of the Foundation Programme Review and set out concrete guidelines designed to enhance the working lives of foundation year doctors.
She said: ‘This charter, which sets out clearly defined requirements for employers regarding their foundation doctors on a broad range of workplace issues, is a hugely positive and welcome development, and follows on from considerable lobbying and input from the BMA during the course of the [review] last year.
‘We have seen how setting a framework for good practice and minimum standards as to what staff can expect in their workplace has been beneficial to other branches of the medical profession such as the charter for staff, associate specialist and specialty doctors launched back in 2014.
‘In particular, the provisions for scheduled weekly self-development time represent crucial improvements to foundation doctors’ working conditions, with opportunities for professional growth and improvement vital to doctors still at a very early stage in their careers.’
She added: ‘I hope that trusts will embrace the provisions set out in this charter, and that over time we can further improve aspects of its requirements.’
The review produced a range of recommendations, including that HEE and NHS Employers draw up a workplace charter for all F1 and F2 doctors.
Once in place, all LEPs in England will be expected to uphold the requirements set out in the charter’s 16 provisions, performance on which will be judged against HEE’s quality processes in trusts’ annual reviews.