The path to improve wellbeing for junior doctors in England

by Maria Vittoria Capanna

The next steps for the BMA junior doctors' wellbeing checklist are afoot 

Location: England
Published: Tuesday 25 January 2022
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Following the launch of the junior doctor wellbeing checklist in May 2021, we are excited to be able to share with you the next steps in the BMA’s plan to improve junior doctor wellbeing.

We know that employers are keen to listen to staff about what works to keep us healthy, and now we want to help them implement the changes we know will positively impact the health and wellbeing of junior doctors.

As we highlighted in our blog back in May, the benefits of investing in junior doctor wellbeing are too considerable to ignore, both for staff and services. 

The objective of the checklist is to standardise wellbeing support available to junior doctors across the UK, and to start encouraging providers to uphold the minimum standards of practice we would expect.

The rotational nature of junior doctors means they can have difficulty accessing services, hence why a checklist has been created specifically for this staff group. The checklist is evidence based, drawing on common themes from wellbeing documents created by key stakeholders, as well as direct feedback from junior doctors about what makes a difference to them. 

When the wellbeing checklist was launched, we spoke about accountability, support, and culture change. We are now asking employers to commit to reviewing their services and to act where it is needed.  

We will shortly be sending out a form to make it easier for employers check their practices against the criteria of the checklist.

We’re asking for this to be completed by a junior doctor BMA representative alongside the postgraduate medication education team and supported by industrial relations officers through the BMA local negotiating committees.

The results will be fed back to the BMA to review the results. We will identify employers that are scoring highly, and which can be used as good examples to inspire other providers to establish a healthy place in which to work. 

It is essential we continue to prioritise addressing the high levels of mental and physical strain that our work can place on junior doctors.

We know psychological safety and wellbeing is essential to junior doctors, not only for their personal health but so they can provide the highest level of care to patients. All of us need to be able to rely on our employer to ensure there is help and support available and easily accessible if we need it. We look forward to working with employers to ensure this becomes the new norm. 

As ever, if you are struggling, the BMA has a range of services and information to help support you. Our counselling service is open 24/7 to all doctors and medical students – by telephone and in person. It’s confidential and free of charge. 

Maria Vittoria Capanna is BMA junior doctors committee deputy chair for professional issues