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RCSEd Highlights Quality of Training in SHoT Debate

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30 Jan 2015

Following the concerns raised today by the BMA about the impact on patients of a reduction in the time taken to train doctors, The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) which represents over 22,000 surgical professionals in the UK and across the world, has today (30 January) warned that more consideration needs to be given to the way doctors are trained.   Ian Ritchie, the President of the RCSEd, is urging the Department of Health to recognise that the time taken to train medical professionals is, in many ways a secondary issue, and the real problem is the reliance placed on trainees by the NHS to deliver services.

The Shape of Training Review has recommended that the eight to ten years it currently takes for trainees to become consultants should be reduced to six to eight years. Yet the Review makes no attempt to explain how doctors can be trained to the required skill level in a shorter training programme when the time available for quality training is being eroded by the demands of service delivery.

Mr Ritchie stated: “We support the Shape of Training Review and want an NHS that offers patients consultant led care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“However we are not convinced that trainees will be able to develop their full range of competencies within a much reduced training period if they continue to form the backbone of service delivery.

“As well as learning the technical aspects of their job, trainees need time to develop a full range of communication, leadership and team working skills. The time trainees spend receiving quality training is being consistently eroded and, while we recognise that training and service provision are inextricably linked and should not necessarily be completely separated, we maintain that there is a distinction and this should be recognised and addressed.

“Whilst the health services continue to try and introduce time limits and regulations to a system which was not designed to accommodate them, without adapting and changing that system, it will continue to create more issues for the future. The NHS needs to become more responsive to change to ensure that the patient remains its focus. A well trained, resilient workforce which works together as a team across every facet of the patient’s care, is the key to this: and the key to good training is not necessarily quantity, but quality.

“There is a lot of high-quality training taking place in every area of the NHS and there are also many examples of good practice where the service delivery model has adapted to the changing demands placed upon it. However, we must do more of both if we are to ensure that the health services continue to train doctors of all disciplines who can deliver first class, safe patient care within a system that continues to have this aim at its heart.

“A further concern is that placing still more pressure on trainees, will perpetuate some of the more negative aspects of workplace culture such as long hours, bullying and undermining.”

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