Today an estimated 7,000 junior doctors arrive at hospitals to start their new jobs, fresh out of medical school.
Research suggests that death rates rise by an average of six per cent in English hospitals on this day.
It is regarded as being the most dangerous day of the year to fall ill.
Now a new scheme, which will be mandatory from next year, is set to improve patient safety.
All young medics will spend a minimum of four days in a shadowing role before taking up their posts.
It was the idea of Dr Rebecca Aspinall, of University Hospitals, Bristol, who said: "I have reduced quite significantly - I would say by 50 per cent - the near misses, the close shaves and the mistakes that new doctors might make.
"It is never going to be massively significant because there are so many senior doctors keeping an eye on them, but we have certainly improved safety."
NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh said: "There is some evidence of increased risk to patients as new doctors take their first steps.
"So, learning from pilots across the country, we've agreed that all new first-year doctors should undertake a period of paid shadowing at the end of July, starting this year."
Trials in Bristol showed that mistakes made by new doctors in their first four months were reduced by more than 50% after a week of shadowing and targeted teaching.
A recent survey of 51,000 junior doctors by the General Medical Council found that one in seven felt they had to deal with medical problems beyond their competence and experience.
One in five did not think they were being properly supervised by senior colleagues and one in three reported that they rarely, or never, had informal feedback from a senior clinician.
The Department of Health said: "Our aim is to ensure that all junior doctors spend a minimum of four working days shadowing the job that they will be taking up and completing trust-based induction.
"This will help them become familiar with their new working environment and include a handover of their clinical responsibilities.
"Evidence from the pilots suggests that the shadowing can reduce the number of serious adverse effects."