Self-development time

doctor at screen

Health Education England’s (HEE) foundation programme review recommended that foundation doctors should have dedicated time for self-development.

One of the findings from the review was that some foundation year one (FY1) doctors and foundation year two (FY2) doctors struggled to carry out some of their essential educational activities, such as formal meetings with their educational/clinical supervisors, reflective practice and completion of e-portfolios and the transition from undergraduate study to employment as a junior doctor could be challenging. 

Self-development time (SDT) is intended to be used for formal meetings with supervisors, reflecting on clinical practice, use of e-portfolio, preparing/delivering teaching, quality improvement activity and career exploration. More information on intended uses, and activities not intended for self-development time can be found in the HEE intended uses of self-development time document.

It is recognised that many trusts are already scheduling this time for foundation doctors, and that this initiative is not an additional two hours but should incorporate good practice that is already in place. However, this is not the experience for all foundation doctors, and this recommendation formalises the expectation of SDT.


STD will be rolled out from August 2020 in order to support the health and wellbeing of doctors.

  • All trusts with foundation doctors need to include two hours per week self-development time in the work schedules of FY2 doctors from August 2020.  

HEE has evaluated the first year of this scheme, listening to feedback from trainees themselves and the system and it has been determined that from August 2021.

  • All trusts with foundation doctors need to include two hours per week self-development time in the work schedules of FY1 doctors.

 The formalisation of self-development time will also be evaluated as part of the recommendations of the wider foundation programme review, allowing for any further adjustments to be made.

NHS Employers has developed a set of frequently asked questions on self-development time.

If you have any further questions or comments regarding self-development time, please get in touch with us at

Why Register?

Great reasons to register with NHS Employers

  • A personalised website
    Manage your profile and select topics of interest to you
  • Access your dashboard
    Bookmark useful content to help you quickly find what you're looking for
  • Get involved
    Contribute to our Talking Points discussions, comment on and rate our webpages
  • Keep up to date
    Receive the latest newsletters and media summaries

Log In