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Increase in annual JCST fee for Trainees

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09 May 2012

The GMC is responsible for regulating postgraduate training. It requires the Colleges - working through the JCST - to support surgical training in a number of ways. The tasks include enrolling and monitoring trainees and making recommendations for CCT; developing, maintaining, updating and delivering the curriculum and the online training management system; and supporting national quality assurance and local quality management processes.

As detailed in the January 2012 JCST newsletter, JCST was funded historically by the Department of Health (DH) and by the Joint Surgical Colleges. In recent years the funding from the DH has gradually diminished and has now ceased completely. A trainee fee for surgical training was therefore introduced for UK trainees in 2008, in line with practice in other Medical Royal Colleges. The income thus generated (£590k in FY 2010-11) currently accounts for just under 50% of the cost of provision of services to trainees (£1,204k in the same period).

Currently the Joint Surgical Colleges receive no funding for any of the trainee-related work that JCST carries out for the GMC. While a re-negotiation of this arrangement is currently in progress, at a meeting of the Joint Surgical Colleges on 17 April 2012, we decided that the Colleges could no longer continue to underwrite to the same degree the current and anticipated funding gap, and that the trainee fee would therefore be increased to £150 pa, with effect from the coming academic year. Additional increases in following years are also likely to be necessary, particularly if the negotiations with the GMC do not result in a significant contribution.

While we recognise that this increase will be unwelcome, it is the first since the fee was introduced four years ago. In that time, we have devoted a great deal of effort to making the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme (ISCP) significantly more user-friendly than it was at the outset. There have been several revisions of the website that have improved its utility, while at the same time trainers have become much more familiar with its appearance, utility and functions.

The fee is not, however, as it is sometimes perceived to be, a fee solely for use of the ISCP. Indeed ISCP costs account for only around 50% of the overall costs of JCST. The fee is payable annually by all trainees appointed to programmes since August 2007 and is a prerequisite for enrolment with the JCST. Unless trainees are enrolled and up-to-date with annual payments, the JCST cannot recommend them to the GMC when they are ready for the award of the CCT.

David Tolley, President, RCS Edinburgh
Norman Williams, President, RCS England
Ian Anderson, President, RCPS Glasgow

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