Trainees will now find it easier to transfer to posts in other parts of the country after the BMA junior doctors committee secured a series of measures.
Under one concession, junior doctors can apply for IDTs (inter-deanery transfers) as soon as they are offered specialty trainee posts.
Until now, applications could only be submitted nine months after being appointed to post, even if these were in regions far from partners, or family members for whom they were carers.
Applicants must still make their cases for transfers. Priority is given to those with disabilities who need to train in a particular region over other circumstances, such as parental or caring responsibilities, or a change in a committed relationship.
Unsuccessful applicants will also now be put on a waiting list for places in regions to which they want to transfer. This means that if a vacancy in a region becomes available after an offer round, it can later be allocated to an applicant who had put it down as a preference.
Trainees in Scotland will also be able to apply for transfer between NHS England for Scotland and Health Education England when they receive an annual review of competence progression outcome rating of one or two, whereas previously a rating of one was required. Scottish trainees’ applications must, however, have letters of support from their postgraduate deans.
Trainees in England can apply for transfers with outcome ratings of one, two or three. Those in Wales and Northern Ireland will still require a rating of one.
JDC deputy chair for education and training Sarah Hallett said it pushed for the concessions after several issues and concerns about the process were raised last year.
‘The IDT system is an important lifeline for many trainees whose circumstances change during their training programmes, meaning a move between regions is necessary. Central coordination had helped to remove some of the variations in this process, but a number of barriers had still caused issues for many junior doctors.
‘Like anyone else, we want to be able to live near significant others, or be able to provide care for loved ones, and being separated from these support networks can be very hard for doctors undertaking what is a tough training programme in a highly pressured health service,’ she added.
‘It’s welcome that some of the arbitrary restrictions on transfers have now been abolished. But there is still a way to go. We will continue to press for a fairer, more accessible, and flexible transfer process across the UK.’