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Guardian of Safe Working Hours

The ‘Guardian of Safe Working Hours’ has been introduced nationally to protect patients and doctors by making sure doctors are not working unsafe hours.

The Guardian Of Safe Working is a senior person, independent of the management structure within the organisation. The guardian will ensure that issues of compliance with safe working hours are addressed and will provide assurance to the trust board that doctors' working hours are safe.

How to find support around safe working hours

Our Guardian of Safe Working is available to contact in person or via email. They will support you confidentially and without judgement. Please contact them if you need support.

Your guardian is Mr Jamie McKenzie

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About the role of the Guardian of Safe Working

The guardian will:

  • act as the champion of safe working hours for doctors in approved training programmes and ensure that action is taken to ensure that the working hours within the trust are safe.
  • provide assurance to the trust board or equivalent body that doctors are safely rostered and are working hours that are safe and in compliance with the TCS.
  • record and monitor compliance with the restrictions on working hours stipulated in the TCS, through receipt and review of all exception reports in respect of safe working hours.
  • ensure that exception reports regarding training hours, as set out in the work schedule, are sent to the DME or equivalent officer.
  • work in collaboration with the DME and the LNC to ensure that the identified issues within exception reports, concerning both working hours and training hours, are properly addressed by the employer and/or host organisation.
  • escalate issues in relation to working hours raised in exception reports to the relevant executive body for decisions where these have not been addressed at a local level.
  • require a work schedule review to be undertaken where there are regular or persistent breaches in safe working hours that have not been addressed.
  • directly receive exception reports where there are immediate or serious risks to safety and ensure that the organisation at a local level has addressed the concerns that led to the exception report. Where this is not addressed within the timescales identified in Schedule 5, and the guardian deems it appropriate, the guardian will raise this with the executive of the employing and/or host organisation.
  • review the reports received when a manager does not authorise payment for hours worked beyond those described in the work schedule in order to secure patient safety, and recommend action where appropriate.
  • have the authority to intervene in any instance where the guardian feels the safety of patients and/or doctors is compromised, or that issues are not being resolved satisfactorily.
  • distribute monies received as a consequence of financial penalties to improve the training and working experience of all doctors. These funds must not be used to supplement the facilities, study leave, IT provision and other resources that are defined by HEE as fundamental requirements for doctors in training, and which should be provided by the employer/host organisation as standard.
  • Oversee all diversity and equality issues associated with ensuring safe working practices. This will include liaison with the DME to ensure that a member of the educational faculty in the trust is designated as a champion for flexible training.

Find out more

Find out more about the national Guardian of Safe Working programme via