Hospital Dr News

Trainee anaesthetists struggle to secure NHS training posts

Nearly 700 junior doctors in anaesthesia have been dropped from the NHS training scheme.

A surfeit of applicants has occurred with 1056 doctors applying for only 359 training posts at ST level from August.

This is a record level of applicants due to imminent curriculum changes, and the absence of opportunities to train abroad, given the pandemic.

These doctors – as many as 697 – are now scrambling to find non-training jobs in NHS hospitals.

Dr Lucie Cocker, BMA junior doctor committee deputy chair, commented: “It is devastating that hundreds of anaesthetists will be unable to progress within an NHS training programme this August.

“These doctors have particularly gone above and beyond during the pandemic and will understandably see this as an insult and feel their efforts and experience are not valued.

“The BMA is disappointed steps have not been taken to mitigate the impact of this long anticipated curriculum change by the Royal College of Anaesthetists and educational bodies, despite the BMA raising frequent concerns.

NHS backlog

“With the NHS facing the largest backlog of care in its history, every effort must be made to ensure that junior doctors in whom time, public money and huge personal effort has already been invested are not lost from the NHS.”

The Royal College of Anaesthetists is putting an additional year into its core training programme, with many of the juniors applying for ST roles this year to avoid having to do the extra year.

It comes at a time when royal college figures suggest that there is a shortage of consultant anaesthetists. 90% of departments across England had at least one consultant vacancy, equivalent to 1,410 anaesthetists, says the RCOA.

HEE suggested the 697 figure was speculation, according to reports.

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