Joint statement from the RCoA and FICM on the proposed trainee contract

Following the publication of the DDRB recommendations for reforming the consultant and trainee contracts in England, Northern Ireland and Wales and the RCoA’s subsequent response, the RCoA Council and FICM Board have been closely monitoring subsequent events. We share our trainees concerns about the proposed unilateral implementation of a new trainee contract from August 2016 in England.

In response, the RCoA President and FICM Dean, together with eight other College Presidents, authored a letter to the Secretary of State for Health, outlining our concerns regarding the damaging effects of the contract changes on all trainees and particularly those in acute specialties.

Financial modelling based on the DDRB proposals demonstrates that anaesthesia and intensive care will be disproportionately disadvantaged by the proposed contractual changes. This has been shared with our trainee representative groups, AAGBI and the BMA.  We are therefore concerned that such detrimental implications of the DDRB’s proposed new trainee contract need to be fully understood by the government, especially in terms of the impact on the potential ability to deliver the required future seven day services. The RCoA believes that in any contract change there needs to be a realistic underpinning of support and value for those who are already providing seven day services, recognising the substantial contribution already made to the care of the sickest patients, seven days a week.

Based on our modelling we are concerned that the DDRB proposed contract changes will disadvantage our trainees and inevitably lead to problems with acute specialty recruitment, retention, motivation and the work-life balance of a severely stretched medical workforce, thus compromising patient care.

This is a time of unprecedented financial challenge for the NHS. Anaesthesia and intensive care have always been fully committed to delivering safe and effective care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for those with the most urgent need. For safe, quality care to be delivered the medical workforce must be engaged in designing both their future and the future of healthcare. 

We will continue to support our trainees – the future of our specialty – and work with all stakeholders including the AAGBI, other medical Royal Colleges, the BMA and government to create an environment for meaningful and constructive negotiation in the interest of patients. 

21 September 2015

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