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Supporting the Orthopaedic Specialty Trainees of Today, For the Patients of Tomorrow

BOTA is an independent professional body promoting surgical excellence in trauma & orthopaedic surgical training within the United Kingdom. Founded in 1987 it is an organisation run by trainees, for trainees, for the benefit of patients.

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BOTA Position Statement on Changes to 2020 Orthopaedic ST3 National Selection

COVID-19 has created an extra ordinary situation within healthcare. The national priority has been to support the response to the pandemic, as made clear both by government intervention, timely BOA guidance, and HEE’s cancellation of rotations.  

 

National selection timeline

  • 17.03.20 – An email to Orthopaedic candidates via Oriel detailed the cancellation of all pan-specialty face to face interviews
  • 30.03.20 – A second email from the 4 education bodies was sent out, with the decision to abbreviate all incomplete national selection processes, from the 4 education bodies.

 

‘Self- assessment and shortlisting scores will be the sole means of ranking applicants. There will be no validation of self- assessment scores where this already forms part of the initial application’1

 

 

Impact

The effect of HEE’s letter dated 30th March on 2020, is that applicants will be scored only using their Self-Assessment Questions.  The decision to use only 10% of a candidate’s selection mark to now constitute the entire process is a significant reduction in the quality of the selection process.  We are aware of the possibility that it may disadvantage certain groups and as such cannot support the process as being demonstrably fair.

 

Representation  

This has been a fast-moving situation, where the interests of BOTA members have been represented to HEE by: 

  1. Speciality Advisory Committee (SAC)
  2. Speciality Design Group (SDG)
  3. Joint Committee on Surgical Training (JCST)
  4. Academy Trainee Doctors’ Group (ATDG)  

 

Going forwards, The SDG have advised HEE of what they believe to be a safe appointability threshold score. This has been determined following analysis of historical selection data and has taken into account the risks attached to a process that is no more than semi-validated.

 

BOTA’s position

BOTA understands the over-riding current need is to focus on patient care. However, this change to national selection is not a situation that BOTA, the SAC or the BOA has advocated for, nor agrees with.  Whilst BOTA cannot evidence that the changes to national selection are unsafe, we feel the process may be unfair.

 

We are aware of some significant limitations to this adapted process and would welcome the opportunity to help HEE consider ways including ‘tiebreaker’ scenarios,  to discriminate candidates, and thus improve the system for our BOTA members going forward.

 

BOTA will continue to advocate for its members during this difficult time. 

 

BOTA Committee 2nd April 2020

 

References

1 https://www.hee.nhs.uk/coronavirus-information-trainees