Junior doctor England

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Exception reports take early victory

Peter Campbell, Junior doctors committee
CAMPBELL: 'Exception reporting is a valuable mechanism for highlighting inadequate staffing'

Junior doctors have been promised extra support following concerns raised by exception reporting.

In what is seen as an early success for the BMA-negotiated system, a trust in Surrey has responded to reports of long working hours with a commitment to recruit extra staff.

It has said it will recruit trust-grade clinicians, in addition to the locum support it has recently taken on.

All junior doctors will be given two hours of supporting professional activities time in their rotas to complement that already available for training.

Exception reporting enables junior doctors to report when their work or training varies from their agreed work schedule. This week the BMA is publishing information and insights from senior and junior clinicians.

The reports at the Royal Surrey County Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were made by foundation year 1 doctors last month.

Trust guardian and consultant cardiologist Stephen Cookson said: ‘It was quite clear from early on [that there was a staffing issue] as you can see reports coming in, in real time, and this helps to focus people’s minds on the situation.

‘One doctor who had exceeded working hours had to be sent home to rest ... it became clear that unless something was done, this would keep happening.

‘The management of the trust has been very open and wanting to sort things out and the fact they recognised [the concerns raised in reports] has been a step forward.’

Dr Cookson welcomed the addition of a locum doctor, but said a more permanent solution still had to be found.

BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs Pete Campbell and Jeeves Wijesuriya said: ‘This example of a trust responding to problems highlighted by the exception reporting system is a positive one.

'We would hope that this example of responsible action encourages other trusts and staff across England to deal appropriately with exception reporting concerns.

‘Exception reporting is a valuable mechanism for highlighting the inadequate staffing, gaps in rotas, missed teaching and education opportunities all too common in the working lives of junior doctors.’

A trust spokesperson said: ‘Following discussions with the BMA the trust has decided to allow junior doctors on the new contract two hours of professional development time each week so that they have time identified to undertake the activities needed to complete their training requirements.

‘Royal Surrey has also found through our monitoring of compliance that in one of our clinical areas there is a real need for additional junior doctors and as a result the hospital is actively recruiting trust grade clinicians to allow compliance with the new contract hours in these areas.’

Find out more about exception reporting

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