Junior doctors who switch to a new specialty will be accredited for experience gained in their previous training role, following the publications of landmark guidance on flexible training.
Trainees across the UK will be able to cite training from a former specialty when seeking their certificate of completion of training, new guidance published by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has confirmed.
The decision means doctors who decide to change their specialties during training will no longer have to repeat training for competency signs-offs they have already gained, thereby avoiding unnecessary delays to career progression.
Junior doctors who wish to transfer specialties must still ensure they are meeting statutory minimum training time for the specialty they are transferring into, where appropriate.
The guidance suggests how flexibility in training could work in practice for both doctors in training who wish to take time out of training and doctors not in training who wish to join or return to training programmes.
Implementation of the guidance will need to address both general and specialty-specific principles. Individual royal colleges and faculties will need to develop new curricula standards. However, it is anticipated that these principles will enhance training not only in terms of the quality of the training experience, but also, the safety and quality of patient care.
Welcoming the news, BMA junior doctors committee chair Sarah Hallett, said having a more flexible approach to training was long overdue, with many juniors no longer opting for linear career paths and placing greater priority on establishing a healthy work and life balance.
“This was a key part of the ACAS agreement between the BMA and NHS Employers following the 2016 junior doctor contract dispute, and much work has been undertaken by many organisations to bring this to fruition.
“This is ultimately good news for doctors and great news for the NHS which has a more flexible workforce in training,” she said.