BMA Multi-Specialty Working Group Committee Meeting 27th January 2020

27th Jan 2020

Alison Kinghorn (BMA Rep)

Not only my first meeting as BMA Rep for BOTA but also my first time at BMA House in London. First thing to highlight is the great facilities they have available for free to BMA members – if you find yourself in London for a course/exam and want a nice quiet place with a library, members’ lounge, lockers, café and free WiFi, check it out.

The meeting itself was attended by representatives of all sorts of specialty groups as well as those from the relevant BMA committees. We covered several current issues relevant to orthopaedic trainees, starting with the new HEE policy on study leave/budget. Although in general feedback on the new system has been positive, there are regional discrepancies that need clarifying and ironing out. Trainees experiencing difficulties locally are advised to approach their local JDC representatives for guidance. I also raised the issue of junior trainees who can struggle to get “speciality” courses/conferences approved as they are beyond the foundation curriculum. This runs at odds with BOTA’s efforts to bring interested junior trainees into the “orthopaedic family” early on and encourage foundation doctors into specialty training. Although there are aspects of the F1 requirements which cannot be changed, I was pleased to hear that work is being done on highlighting/offering cost neutral alternatives to named courses when trying to meet person specification criteria. The devolved nations have separate study leave/budget systems currently, although Wales is currently consulting on the best way forward.

Clarification was sought regarding indemnity for extra hours. This has been raised in some trusts but the legal framework is that trainees are unlikely to have indemnity from their trust if they are outside their contracted hours (e.g. coming in on a day off to do some extra cases). The official advice for trainees who are not getting their numbers/educational requirements without extra hours would be to make sure they have written their personalised work schedule (detailing how many lists/cases expected per week) and then to do an educational exception report if this is not being met. Related issues include practicing in the private sector where it is essential that trainees have informed the MDU/MPS or equivalent body. Equally, taking on work which breaks the safe working hours rules is a breach of contract which could leave trainees with no protection in the event of problems.

Other issues under discussion included regional variations in ARCP checklists (e.g. the higher London WBA numbers), trainer engagement with ISCP and changes to the curriculum. In all cases, the focus is on practical measures to ensure trainees are working across a level playing field nationally. It was great to have not just a mix of specialties but also different regional and training background experiences brought to the table. Often someone was able to offer a new perspective or some best practice which could be shared.

I was particularly surprised to hear that in many regions, trainees are not routinely invited to ARCP. Where I work, this is a key point of the year to have a discussion about your career with the important decision makers in your programme and to bring any concerns/plans (e.g. LTFT, OOPRs, rotation preferences etc) to the table. It seems there’s quite a diversity of approaches across regions and specialties so I’m going to discuss this with the rest of the BOTA committee to see what their experiences/opinions are on this issue.

So all in all, a really interesting productive meeting full of people committed to improving the trainee experience across the UK![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]