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RCSEd Response to HSJ Article “Junior doctors 'losing faith' in long hours safeguards

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13 Jun 2019

On 11 June the HSJ released an article “Junior doctors 'losing faith' in long hours safeguards” in which it was revealed that the Hospital Consultants and Specialist Association (HCSA) found there is huge variation in how trusts respond to cases of “exception reporting” which allows doctors to file a report if their contracts are breached, for example, if they work beyond their contracted hours or without a break. 

Exception reporting was introduced after the junior doctors’ strike in 2015 – 16 in order to protect doctors from dangerous working practices. Its aim was to be a tool for trusts to monitor unacceptable working conditions in order to implement changes to improve working practices and ensure patients receive safe care from doctors who are well rested and able to work at their full capability.

RCSEd Trainees Committee Chair, Mr David Riding, said “It is worrying that a number of trusts have received a high level of exception reports but made no changes to services or rostering.

It is vital that junior doctors feel that their concerns are taken seriously and that exception reporting can lead to real change within trusts.
Providing safe patient care should be the main priority of everyone working in healthcare and this is only possible when doctors are not overburdened and are able to work at their full capacity”.

RCSEd President, Professor Mike Griffin, said “The data from the HCSA highlights flaws in the exception reporting system.
It is clear that exception reporting should lead to trusts reviewing practices and, if necessary, implementing changes to ensure doctors can provide safe care to patients.

We urge trainee doctors to continue exception reporting in order to record the scale of the current contractual breeches whilst also urging trusts to take the concerns of trainees seriously”.

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