Junior Doctors Offered Opportunity to Pause Training

Dawn O'Shea

July 24, 2020

Health Education England’s (HEE’s) Out of Programme Pause (OOPP) initiative is being expanded to allow trainees to take a break from training after the pressures of the first COVID-19 peak. The OOPP will now be available to the vast majority of junior doctors in England, for anywhere from 6 to 12 months.

Commenting on the announcement, Lucie Cocker, deputy chair of the BMA junior doctors committee, said: “We have all had an incredibly intense year. There are very few junior doctors across the entire UK that have not been affected directly by the COVID-19 pandemic, by redeploying, working longer and more anti-social hours, and putting the training on hold.”

“We've [BMA] been thinking carefully about how we can give back to junior doctors who have given so much, and through the changes to HEE’s OOPP work, we can do just that.”

OOPP was created to allow trainees to take time out of training while still working clinically. It would be possible to work just one full day a week, and competencies and skills acquired during OOPP could be counted towards your training programme when you come back. The first pilot was just concluding when COVID-19 struck.

HEE said the aim of the offer is to “support trainees’ wellbeing in a post-COVID-19 environment by providing a break from training and allow the opportunity to gain competencies which may have been missed due to the pandemic”.

“We are committed to supporting trainees during and post COVID-19, by ensuring mechanisms are in place to support trainee’s wellbeing and educational provision.  As a result, we are providing an enhanced, specific flexibility offer,” an HEE statement said.

This offer is available immediately and is open to all specialties for applications of one year. Applications are invited from all doctors that are 2 years’ post-full registration through HEE local offices, have had an outcome 1, 10.1 or 10.2 at their most recent annual review of competency progression.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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