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Flexible training “essential” to future of NHS



The NHS must allow more junior doctors to train part-time if it is to meet the demands of the NHS Plan and the European Working Time Directive, claims a BMA-led working group.

As the number of female trainees is expected to increase, and research has shown that half the UK’s 39,000 junior doctors would like to work part-time in future, the working party reports that there is a need for more flexibility and work-life balance for all doctors.

It reports that out of the 1700 flexible trainees currently employed by the NHS, the majority are women with young children who would otherwise find it difficult to stay in the NHS.

It recommends:

  • flexible training to be available for all who want it
  • all flexible trainees to have the same rights and opportunities as full-time trainees
  • better childcare provision
  • increased central funding for all doctors’ training.

Dr Jo Hilborne, deputy chairman of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee said: “We need to move towards a culture where flexible working is seen as a right rather than a privilege.”

Dr Kym Hildyard, who co-chaired the working party, said: “Flexible training is essential not only to the welfare of staff but also to the future of the NHS, and we’d like to see trusts taking a more long-term view. The cost of allowing doctors to train part-time is tiny compared to the costs of them leaving the NHS.”

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