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Medical training recovery stays on track

14 October 2021

Progress on a national programme to support doctors currently in training and minimise the impact of the pandemic on their education and progression has been published by HEE.

The Training Recovery Interim Report details the progress made by the Post Graduate Medical Education (PGME) Recovery Programme which was launched in April 2021 to lead system-wide efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the 55,000 doctors in training in England.

The report highlights successes which include:

  • A lower-than-expected level of training extensions which are costly, impact on individual wellbeing and reduce the future workforce supply
  • The use of new models of learning and teaching and the opportunity to adopt new technologies which can positively support medical training
  • A catalogue of case studies of local and regional initiatives to support training recovery enabling schools and trusts to share best practice and deliver tested and effective solutions

Trainee doctors are an essential part of the health service and deliver increasingly complex healthcare interventions as they progress through their medical education. The pandemic has had a significant impact on their training, so HEE has had to act to minimise any subsequent impact on individual doctors or the services they provide to patients.

The programme has been supported with £30 million investment, which is being used for a tailored approach, based on the individual needs of postgraduate trainees, many of whom put their training on hold to work on the frontline. 

The recovery work is a joint effort involving NHS England & NHS Improvement (NHSEI) and NHS Employers, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the General Medical Council (GMC), the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC), and others.

Professor Sheona MacLeod, Deputy Medical Director, Education Reform, said: “The purpose of this programme has been to minimise the initial impact of the pandemic on training and progression; to support trainees and educators with wellbeing and training recovery; and to lock in the innovations developed during the pandemic, to deliver long-term improvements in PGME and build future resilience into medical education.” 

“We are pleased with the progress we have made, however it is essential that we continue to focus on prioritising education recovery alongside service recovery to ensure the supply of the medical workforce needed to deliver COVID care and service recovery and reduce waiting lists now and in the future.”

Read the full report