Dear Doctors in Training
We are very aware of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it is presenting to the NHS. Many trusts are already in major incident mode and we are working jointly across London through an incident team with employers to ensure HEE is best able to support trainees in a consistent way in these current challenging circumstances.
We are writing now to give you an update on the key areas where we know you will have concerns. Please be assured that everyone is working together to support you through the current pressures and the position is evolving. We will provide further updates in due course.
Nationally it has been decided jointly by the Health Education bodies and the General Medical Council that all planned rotations due to take place during the “delay phase” of COVID-19 will cease, with trainees being asked to stay in their present working environment, unless local arrangements allow otherwise, or wider clinical circumstances require it. This document can be found in the resources section detailed below.
For London and KSS trusts the below has been agreed: –
- No trainees will rotate trust
- Specialty trainees will remain in their current specialty in e.g. IMT
- There will be a small number of new starters from the last Inter Deanery Transfer process and recruitment – these will happen and we will liaise with trusts and trainees on these to ensure placement capacity as this may create some double running
- GP trainees will remain with their current practice or acute placement
- Foundation trainees currently in a GP placement will remain in that GP placement
- Foundation trainees in mental health placements will remain in that MH placement
- Foundation trainees may be redeployed from other community services as appropriate – trusts will liaise with your Foundation School Directors
By staying in current roles, the need for induction and intensive support will be reduced, meaning you will be working in familiar surroundings and with staff you know.
Any other trainee redeployment would only be undertaken in exceptional circumstances with the approval of the postgraduate dean and will normally be in the interests of maximising service delivery because of demand or because of the individual circumstances of a trainee e.g. pregnancy.
To provide some assurance, your pay will continue to be based on your present work schedule. If you were due to be rotating in April, you will have already received an offer/contract and trusts will be withdrawing these as they are now void. There will be a few exceptions to this for Inter Deanery Transfers already arranged and for those trainees new to programmes primarily in surgical specialties. We are working to ensure trusts and trainees are contacted but please bear with us.
It may be that you are further called upon to be redeployed as service needs require. Any such redeployment will be managed locally by your host trust and the Director of Medical Education will be aware of these arrangements and will be keeping your Postgraduate Dean informed
Should you be deployed to a differently banded post this will be honoured but bear with everyone as all are working to keep the system running and there will be a post incident phase at the appropriate time. Processing of some expenses may also take longer.
If you are currently out of service on either maternity/paternity leave, an out of programme experience or working in an academic role, please ensure that you liaise with your employers medical staffing department regards any return so that they can ensure that you are fully supported. The necessary clinical inductions and training will then be arranged.
Out of Programme
New applications cannot be considered at this time. We will let trainees know when these are reinstated. If trainees wish to return early please contact HEE through the support portal and choose OOP as the group and we will prioritise these and link you in with a member of staff in your trust. The support portal can be found here https://lasepgmdesupport.hee.nhs.uk/support/home
The current make-up of teaching is changing locally, with COVID-related training being prioritised for all staff relevant to their roles. Please refer to the study leave guidance as there is new support for online learning where this is available. https://lasepgmdesupport.hee.nhs.uk/support/home Guidance is also here on how you claim for cancelled events and travel.
HEE, the GMC and AoMRC are determined to ensure the longer-term needs of doctors in training are not compromised. ARCPs will take place remotely and will be proportionate to the current circumstances. PYAs in medicine are suspended for this period. Plans are being drawn up to concentrate these on specific points of progression. You will be contacted with specific information for your ARCP in due course.
All face to face recruitment has been suspended. Reviews are underway to see what can be delivered virtually where possible. Information will be on the HEE website below.
There is now a resource on the HEE website dedicated to trainee information sharing. FAQs are being developed and will be updated here https://www.hee.nhs.uk/coronavirus-information-trainees. Guidance from other organisations will also be saved here.
This will be a difficult time for many of you and your colleagues. Please do your best to look after yourselves, and feel able to access support locally, for example via Occupational health or the Guardian of Safe Working or via the London Professional Support Unit. https://www.lpmde.ac.uk/professional-development/professional-support-unit
If you wish to help further, with the Covid-19 emergency, you should inquire about joining your local hospital staff bank.
One again, thank you for your commitment.
HET & PG Deans London and KSS