Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Junior Doctors

How to fix doctors’ rotas

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 27 June 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l4367

Re: How to fix doctors’ rotas

Current junior doctor rotas across the NHS trusts are challenging with multiple gaps across all grades. Throw in short term sickness, the European working time directive and fulfilling teaching / training requirements and we have a recipe for any rota coordinator to consider a change in career. I do sympathise with the plight of the rota co-ordinators and staffing personnel across the NHS.

A few years ago we made a step change in managing junior doctor rota led by the Medical director, having a designated consultant and a departmental manager across the division to support the rota co-ordinator. Devolving the day-to-day management of ward juniors to respective speciality registrars, junior doctor whats-app groups and an internal bank of locum grade doctors was also created to effectively manage problems arising regarding junior doctor rota. Prompt review of CVs for short term gaps by consultant colleague, facilitating cross cover arrangements across specialities or overseeing quick turnaround of business cases where needed were facilitated by the presence of departmental manager and consultant input.

Over time, we have found this approach extremely successful in managing our rota gaps and facilitating teaching and training for our junior doctors. Pre-emptive planning for change over days, bank holidays and holiday season is planned and adequate preparations are made to staff the wards and facilitate teaching for our juniors. This concerted effort has undeniably made a huge difference to the daily nightmares experienced till recently.

Competing interests: No competing interests

12 July 2019
abdul ashish
Consultant Respiratory Physician
Dr Sanjay Arya, Nichola Owen
Royal Edward Infirmary, Wigan