Pay and training at risk for hundreds of anaesthetists

by Peter Blackburn

Junior doctors’ leaders are urging employers to ensure parity of pay and training for hundreds of anaesthetists told they do not have a job within the NHS training scheme from August.

Location: England
Last reviewed: 17 May 2021

Around 700 anaesthetics trainees have missed out on training places amid record applications and limited places. Most will now have to be employed on local contracts and could be left without access to study leave, financial support, formal training and support and appraisal, which comes as part of a training place.

Representatives from the BMA’s junior doctors committee are in discussions with the Royal College of Anaesthetists and Association of Anaesthetists; its position is that these trainees should be paid in accordance with nationally agreed pay scales.

‘We are urging that parity is given in terms of employment, appraisal, pay and training,’ BMA junior doctors committee deputy chair Lucie Cocker said.

With the Royal College of Anaesthetists having changed its curriculum, doctors who are not given specialty training places in this recruitment round but who wish to apply for ST4 posts in a year’s time will be expected to demonstrate additional competencies. These doctors will not have received the formal and structured support trainees within the revised core training programme will have received during the year.

Dr Cocker said: ‘We need to ensure this is not a wasted year and that we have an approved process for trainees to achieve and, crucially, evidence these additional competencies.

‘The BMA is disappointed steps have not been taken to mitigate the impact of this long-anticipated curriculum change by the Royal College of Anaesthetists and educational bodies, despite the BMA raising frequent concerns.’

The BMA has also urged the Government to increase the number of fully funded training places available, to ‘truly reflect current and future patient and service requirements within the NHS’.

Dr Cocker said: ‘With the NHS facing the largest backlog of care in its history, every effort must be made to ensure that junior doctors in whom time, public money and huge personal effort has already been invested are not lost from the NHS.’

Read the joint statement on anaesthetics recruitment