NHS England will review the scrapping of compulsory training for doctors

The amount of time doctors have to spend on mandatory training will be reduced as part of an NHS drive to improve the working lives of medics, the Guardian can reveal.

Concerns that doctors are being overburdened by mandatory training have prompted NHS England to commission a review, which is expected to be announced soon.

It aims to reduce the need for doctors to undertake as many as 33 training sessions each year, depending on the stage of their career they are at. They each last between 30 minutes and several hours and together take about a day.

NHS bosses have told medical groups and healthcare providers about the plan, which they hope will address one of the many frustrations some doctors – especially newly qualified doctors – have about working in the service, in addition to pay, constant pressure and poor working environments . .

Doctors in England are required to undertake 11 types of training each year, covering topics such as safeguarding, conflict resolution, fire safety and equality, diversity and human rights.

One of the ideas being considered is a change that would allow doctors to instead complete the 11 courses in two years, saving half a day a year in training.

However, trainee doctors in the early years of their career may be required to repeat all eleven sessions two or even three times within a year as they ‘rotate’ in different hospitals.

The review will look at easing that workload by having one training system for the whole of England, to avoid young medics having to do all eleven modules every time they join another trust.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, confirmed the assessment. “While statutory and mandatory training provides NHS staff with core knowledge and skills that support safe and effective working, we know that repeating the same training every year is not the best use of a doctor’s time. So it is good that we are looking at ways to cut back on this, while still respecting our legal obligations,” he said.

“Reducing red tape and ensuring that this type of training is only provided when necessary – for example when junior doctors move between hospitals – will not only be better for our staff, who will spend less time worrying about training to meet regulatory requirements, but will also benefit patients by freeing up physicians’ time for care and treatment.

The review is part of a series of measures that NHS England is set to unveil aimed at improving the working lives of its 1.4 million employees, in a bid to improve staff recruitment and retention.

The Times reported that one of the ideas being considered to free up doctors’ time was to give people the option to self-register for minor illnesses using an automated online triage scheme.

The British Medical Association, a trade union and professional body for doctors, declined to comment because it did not have sufficient detail about NHS England’s plans.