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Health Education England to re-start medical rotations this summer

15 May 2020

Health Education England (HEE) have announced that medical training rotations will take place this summer.

Planned rotations were cancelled for May, June and July as a result of COVID-19.

All trainees in Foundation and Core posts will rotate as usual at the start of August.

Not all specialties rotate in August and this should increasingly become more common. Many higher specialty training start dates, therefore, vary across specialties and geographies and, as a result of COVID-19, there will be more programmes with start dates later than August over the summer.

These will need to take into account requirements of local healthcare services and specific COVID-19 pressures.

HEE will, therefore, provide trainees and employers with notice of the August and other summer placements as soon as possible but no later than eight weeks before the intended start date.

Training placements within a programme area may change as a result of changes to service models but where this happens, they will still be in the same geographical area and where high quality training can be assured.

HEE is also working with the Devolved Nations, General Medical Council (GMC) and medical Royal Colleges to enable trainees to progress by increasing the flexibility within training programmes at critical progression points and at the end of core training.

Guidance is being developed for trainees and trainers to inform progression decisions being made at Annual Review of Competency Progression (ARCP) panels.

Professor Sheona MacLeod, Acting Medical Director, Health Education England, said: 

‘We want to ensure that we minimise any disadvantages for trainees and provide certainty by giving as much notification as possible so that they have time to plan.

‘Our priorities are to protect the education and training of our future workforce, to enable junior doctors and other staff to ensure the continued delivery  of healthcare services and to maintain the quality and safety of patient care during a summer period that is likely to be busier than usual.

‘We will be making the most of local knowledge and expertise and minimizing disruption to planned placements wherever possible. HEE offices can work with relevant colleagues locally to determine the pace and timing of rotational changes for existing trainees, facilitating discussions around geographical location, workload management and around induction.

‘The distance travelled by rotating trainees has been reducing over recent years and HEE has supported moves to minimise change and disruption for individuals.’

In England, 19 medical specialties involving over 40,000 trainees rotate in August. Of these, 10,000 remain in the same local area.

Of the 70 per cent who do change site, 60 per cent move to a site less than 18 miles away, avoiding the need for relocation in most cases.

HEE has arranged a webinar open to all trainees to discuss these issues. The webinar will take place at 7pm on Tuesday 26 May and will feature the following from HEE: Professor Sheona MacLeod, Acting Director of Education and Quality and Executive Medical Director; Professor Adrian Brooke, Deputy Medical Director, Workforce Alignment; and Professor Simon Gregory, Deputy Medical Director, Primary and Integrated Care. The link to the webinar is here.