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Surgical training should be delivered in 48-hour week - RCSEd President tells BMJ

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27 Nov 2014

RCSEd President Mr Ian Ritchie has told the BMJ that surgical training should be provided within a 48-hour week and that trainees should not be required to opt out of working time regulations in order to be properly trained.

In an interview with BMJ Careers, Mr Ritchie said the RCSEd could not recommend an opt-out to its Fellows and Members when it had been introduced to protect doctors and patients.

Mr Ritchie said: “The difficulty for medicine is that it’s a 24 hour job, in terms of providing cover for sick people. The question for me is whether the time trainees spend working overnight is actually training.”

He added, “There is a big difference between providing service and being trained, and overnight it is not training, it’s service delivery. And, under the current arrangements, if [trainees] work during the night they can’t be around during the day, which is when most of the good quality training happens.”

Mr Ritchie said that it was up to the health service to redesign itself to meet current demands and that he hoped consultants could become more engaged in the process. The interview comes following the recent publication of the College’s Faculty of Surgical Trainers ‘Standards for Surgical Trainers’, which set out the first formal standards for trainers in anticipation of the GMC’s accreditation of all trainers in secondary care in 2016. Published in October, the document offers a way to improve standards by focusing on the quality rather than quantity of surgical training.

Read the full BMJ interview here

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