Guardian of Safe Working Hours / Exception Reporting


This is a new and evolving role supported by the BMA to have an independent person responsible for championing safe working hours.

This is someone who is independent and not part of the management structure, but has previous experience of how it works and is not afraid of challenging senior colleagues where needed. The aim of this role is to provide assurance to doctors and employers (the Board) that doctors are able to work within safe working hours. The Guardian is there to champion and support juniors to deliver this.

Where the system fails a set process outlined below will allow early reporting (exception reporting) to occur which is aimed at giving doctors confidence that improvement will occur. This does come with a defined fine process geared to help make the improvements needed.

An important letter to encourage Exception Reporting was sent to all Doctors in Training, in November 2021.  Read it here.

Importance of exception reporting

It is important to understand the importance of exception reporting.

It is not a punitive process.

It is meant to be supportive and to highlight areas where rota plans etc might not be working for the best.

We would encourage all trainees to use the system when needed. We can then use that information to hold teams to account and support changes that need to be made.

Dr Fraser Wiggins, Consultant Anaesthetist, Guardian of Safe Working Hours (Conquest Hospital)

Dr Waleed Yousef, Guardian of Safe Working Hours (Eastbourne DGH)

Dr Waleed Yousef

Contact details


Janet Botting, Medical Staffing Manager

Janet Botting

Contact details

Tel: 0300 131 4703

Janet Botting's profile

I joined ESHT in 1997 and started in the Education Centre. My role in the Education Centre with the DME at that time, lead to my interest in Junior Doctors and my subsequent appointment to Medical Staffing, initially with the introduction of the New Deal Junior Doctors 2002 Contract. I have since dealt with other contracts for Medical and Dental staff and am the HEE contact for Junior Doctors intake each year. The 2016 Junior Doctors Contract created the Guardian role and I attend the Junior Doctors Forum as well as the preparation of the new work patterns to meet the 2016 Rules. I oversee Exception Reporting, Doctor Fines and Guardian Fines and Terms and Condition issues a trainee may have.

Sam Denyer, Guardian of Safe Working Hours Administrator

Sam Denyer

Contact details

Tel: 0300 131 4500 Ext: 771240

Sam Denyer's profile

My role is Administrator to the Guardian of Safe Working Hours and started working at ESHT in July 2017. I work closely with the Guardians overseeing all aspects of exception reporting. My additional role is the administration of trainees Relocation, continuing commitment and excess travel claims. I am based at Eastbourne Hospital in the Medical Staffing team.

Reporting structure

This process is still under development, however the plan is to use the DRS4 system. This is an IT system that has an online portal that skills for life have created which will allow making of rotas and the creation of exception reporting. Should the Junior Doctor find they are working beyond their rota hours they will be able to send an exception report via an APP on their mobile phone or via a PC by logging onto the DRS4 portal.

The aim of this approach is to make the system of reporting faster and more responsive to that doctor. The report will initially be sent to the Educational Supervisor, who will meet with the Junior Doctor and try to resolve the issue. The Educational Supervisor will determine early on, if this is an Education or safe working hours issue. If an educational problem then the Director of Medical Education will get involved. However if this is a issue of safe working hours, then the Guardian of Safe Working Hours, will be informed. Below is a flow chart to help guide you through the detail.

Junior doctor contract - hours safeguarding

GOSWH videos