Continuity of support through training and working
Every doctor in training goes through a continuous process of educational review, including regular meetings with their educational supervisor. These meetings are an opportunity to touch base on the support the doctor is receiving for their health condition or disability, and document any relevant conversations in the educational portfolio.
The educational supervisor and doctor in training can agree an action plan to address any concerns about progress, and document it.
If the educational supervisor and the doctor think it is appropriate, they can escalate the issues to other members of the support network. There is more information in the Gold Guide (8th edition).
The case for minimising transitions
Transitions are a mandatory part of medicine and can be a challenge for doctors in training, but they can be a particular challenge for disabled doctors in training. This may not be because of the health condition or disability itself, but because the doctor has to do a lot of advance planning and develop coping strategies directly linked to where they work and their day-to-day role.
The support they receive may also be linked to their location. For example, a doctor in training with mobility issues may plan carefully about access to sites. A doctor with an autism spectrum disorder may develop communication strategies tailored to their role and colleagues. And a doctor with a mental health condition may build a network of colleagues important to the management of their condition.
We encourage postgraduate educators to consider minimising transitions that involve change in location to help disabled doctors in training. This is while still allowing them to demonstrate their skills and meet the competences required for their training. For example, a disabled doctor in training might benefit from completing all rotations of their Foundation Programme in one local education provider or in the same hospital.
Communicating a doctor’s support needs in advance is key to making transitions as smooth as possible.
Postgraduate educators and employers would welcome information early for doctors in training at all levels to enable them to plan ahead the support needed for their training and development.
The Code of practice: Provision of information for postgraduate medical training by NHS Employers, the British Medical Association (BMA) and HEE, aims to set minimum standards for HEE, employers and doctors around the provision of information during the recruitment process. HEE has committed to providing information to employers (and to doctors via the Oriel system) at least 12 weeks before a doctor is due to start in post.