How can postgraduate training organisations apply their duties?

Overall systems and structures: what does good look like?

Disabled doctors in training must be supported to participate in clinical practice and educational activities.

The responsibility for postgraduate medical education and training currently rests with the postgraduate deans. The training relationship is complex, with the doctor being both a learner with this learning being overseen by the postgraduate dean, and also a working doctor with this responsibility being that of the employer.

We commissioned research to understand what helps provide successful support to doctors in training:

  • Fostering a positive culture and a 'can do' attitude towards disability
  • Supporting doctors in training in sharing information early and having an effective process to transfer information
  • Having established and clear processes for supporting disabled doctors in training
  • Effective communication across individuals and organisations supporting doctors in training
  • Individualised tailored support
  • Including doctors in training in collaborative decision-making
  • Equality and diversity training: Postgraduate educators, local education providers and employers deliver equality and diversity training to their staff so they have a better understanding of the challenges of doctors in training with protected characteristics, including disability.
  • Dedicating financial resources to supporting doctors in training with long-term health conditions and disabilities.

The attitudes doctors told us they came across reflect the importance of implementing the elements of good practice:

'I came back to training after diagnosis of a lifelong condition which affected my basic daily functions and my supervisor expected me to be the same trainee as I was before I left – even though I had been through a life-changing experience.'

Doctor in training

'I had to fight with the deanery to get everything. In all the hours I have spent writing emails, chasing people and thinking about this, I could have done so many other things for my career, my academic research, and my family.'

Doctor in training

'I was off work with depression and I was asked if I was actually using the time to study more for my exams.'

Doctor in training

'I arrived at the hospital and I was expected to know exactly what adjustments I would need without any conversations, when I had never worked there before.'

Doctor in training