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4 September 2018
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Junior doctor forum: Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

The 2016 junior doctor Terms and Conditions of Service (TCS) requires each Guardian of Safe Working Hours (GSWH) and Director of Medical Education (DME) to establish a Junior Doctors Forum (or for a) to advise them. Many trusts which did not previously host a JDRG have opted to have a standalone JDF as part of this contractual responsibility.

Junior Doctor Forum – Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) JDF was started by the hospital’s BMA Junior Doctor representative in collaboration with FY2 and GPST colleagues. Its remit was as outlined in the 2016 TCS:

  • Working conditions
  • Education and training
  • Supporting and scrutinising the guardian
  • Distributing fines from exception reports.

It was created before the 2016 TCS came into effect, in order to be running when the GSWH was appointed and before any junior doctor transitioned to the new terms. The JDF is chaired by junior doctors, currently the local BMA representative, with executive sponsorship of the GSWH and DME. It has a constitution agreed by its members and ratified by the Local Negotiating Committee (LNC).  Junior doctor members of the forum are responsible for minute taking and secretarial duties.

In addition to the formal reporting and advisory model stipulated in the 2016 TCS, the NNUH JDF acts as an informal mentor/mentee and staff-side/doctor communication channel. To accommodate this two-tiered system, its constitution describes a “JDF Proper” and a JDF “Support Forum”.

The JDF Proper requires a quorum, including the following members (or their deputies):

  • GSWH
  • DME
  • JD LNC Rep
  • Workforce Director
  • Medical Staffing Director
  • BMA Industrial Relations Officer.

Representatives of grades or specialties also attend meetings.

The Support Forum is attended by specialty or grade-representatives and staff from the quorum, and supervisors, are invited (but not mandated) to attend.

Communication and engagement challenges

Originally, all meetings of the NNUH JDF were planned for 17:30, however despite significant communication campaigns, reps on the ground and the use of social media, attendance at these hours was poor. Non-attenders cited three main reasons:

  • still being at work at the end of a shift
  • having finished a shift too early to justify waiting for the JDF to start
  • lack of remuneration for attending the forum despite being work-related.

50% of JDF meetings are now scheduled to be within working hours. Initial feedback on this change and the proposal to provide catering is positive. Advertising meeting dates several weeks in advance with a reminder 24-48 hours before the meeting appears to be the most effective way to ensure junior doctor attendance. A core group of representatives disseminating information by word of mouth has also proven effective. Senior staff attendance normally requires six weeks notice.

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Dr James Rowson, foundation year 2, Norfolk and Norwich Hospital

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