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On Tuesday 2nd April we were delighted to welcome approximately 100 LTFT trainees to BMA House for the first ever BMA LTFT conference. We know that LTFT training can sometimes be an isolating experience, and you can feel that you are the only person battling issues with your rota, pay, educational opportunities and training progression. We wanted to bring LTFT trainees together; to allow them to inform and empower themselves, and to connect with colleagues from all over the UK.
There was no question - the conference had to be accessible and inclusive. The BMA provided care for children and adult dependents, and the delegates seemed to greatly appreciate it. We also needed to make sure trainees who are LTFT for a whole variety of reasons were given a voice.
The day started with a fascinating and thought-provoking update on the medical gender pay gap review, given by Professor Dame Jane Dacre and Professor Carol Woodhams, followed by a lively, in-depth Q&A session for which we are very grateful to Professor Dacre and Professor Woodhams. We then heard from Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, chair of the BMA UK junior doctors committee, who provided an overview of some their recent work and wins, including the current junior doctors contract review, changes to eligibility for shared parental leave and pay, adoption pay, and paid time off in lieu in for KIT and SPLIT days, as well as future improvements to training pathways such as ‘no fault’ ARCP outcomes and the introduction of ‘step on, step off’ training.
During lunch, trainees were encouraged to meet and chat with other trainees from their regions, as well as their local LTFT BMA reps. It was brilliant to see connections being made and new friendships forged. We very much enjoyed meeting the delegates and were impressed at the huge number of people who were first-time attendees at a BMA event.
After lunch we delved into some of the practicalities of LTFT training which can often feel opaque to trainees and trainers alike. Interactive breakout sessions on pay and pensions, rostering and work scheduling, equality and educational aspects and Foundation perspectives were hosted by BMA reps who are themselves frontline LTFT trainees.
The day finished on a high with an inspiring talk from Dr Jen Warren, who is mum to two young children, an anaesthetic trainee and gold medal winning para athlete. Jen talked a rapt audience through her journey from four years in the army to representing the UK in international para sports via some real highs and lows. She emphasised that although we may be called ‘less than’ full time, in fact we are ‘more than’ just doctors, and those other facets of our lives bring myriad further skills and experience. One impressed delegate described Jen as ‘the hero you never knew you needed’.
Trainees told us they left feeling ‘inspired and energised’, and that it had been ‘healing’ to spend time with colleagues in similar situations. Personally, we both had a brilliant day and would love to make the conference a regular event. We had many delegates ask how they could get involved; we would be absolutely delighted to see more LTFT trainees taking up positions on their hospital LNCs, and contesting the posts of regional LTFT representatives at the RJDC elections this summer. And who knows? It might just be you organising the next conference. If we can do it, you can!
Our huge thanks go to all the speakers and the BMA reps and staff who worked incredibly hard to make it all happen.
You can see more highlights of the conference on Twitter using #LTFTConf.
Maddy Fogarty-Hover and Ruth-Anna Macqueen are co-chairs of the BMA LTFT forum.
Contact the LTFT forum chairs: [email protected]