End use of terms “junior” and “trainee,” says Royal College president

Authors: Abi Rimmer 

Publication date:  10 Aug 2016


The president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has called for the introduction of a new term to describe doctors in training rather than “junior” or “trainee” doctors.

In a letter to the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, seen by BMJ Careers, Michael Lavelle-Jones wrote, “we ask that a less pejorative term be found to describe ‘junior’ or ‘trainee’ doctors. These are highly skilled, dedicated professionals and should be recognised as such.”

The letter, which was sent to Hunt on 9 August, called on the health secretary to “urgently address the issues within the NHS which are directly contributing to the continuing decline of staff morale across the service.”

Lavelle-Jones asked Hunt to make sure that trainee and consultant contracts guaranteed enough time for training and allowed flexibility within work plans.

He also called on the Department of Health to work with the surgical royal colleges and associations to reintroduce an apprenticeship model of surgical training.

“A return to a modern day apprenticeship model would not only restore the personal links between trainer and trainee but also enhance the value of the training experience,” the letter said.

The role of consultant also needed to be reviewed, the letter added. “A consultant’s ability to deliver excellent patient care is often hampered by the requirement placed upon them to fulfil a range of clinical, academic, educational, and leadership roles” Lavelle-Jones said. “We would therefore ask that the role of consultant be simplified and streamlined, letting them focus on particular areas of responsibility.”

He said that the change would allow those consultants who were responsible for training and mentoring to be given the time and space to do so.

Abi Rimmer BMJ Careers

 arimmer@bmj.com

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