Trainee surgeons want JCST fee to be covered by royal colleges

Authors: Abi Rimmer 

Publication date:  19 Aug 2015


The Association of Surgeons in Training has called for the UK royal surgical colleges to incorporate the cost of the Joint Committee on Surgical Training fee into their membership fees.

In a letter the association has asked the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and the Royal College of Surgeons of England to make the change.

The Joint Committee on Surgical Training advises the four surgical royal colleges of the UK and Ireland on all matters relating to surgical training. Surgical trainees pay the fee to support the joint committee’s running costs.

In a letter to the colleges, the association said that the fee had risen from £125 in 2011 to £255 in 2015. It said that, after the introduction of the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme for Irish Trainees, the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland had agreed to cover the cost of the training fee. “We would once again urge you to reconsider the fee being incorporated into the remaining three college membership fees,” the letter said.

In addition to the Joint Committee on Surgical Training fee, the Association of Surgeons in Training said that the current costs of meeting the essential criteria for entry into surgical training was greater than in other specialties, such as anaesthetics, medicine, and emergency medicine. “Taking into account the decreasing popularity in careers in surgery, demonstrated by declining competition ratios for specialty training posts in all surgical specialties this year, ever increasing training costs may well be a crucial factor,” the letter said.

“We must acknowledge that to provide the highest possible care to future patients, surgeons must continue to be the product of a high quality and respected training process, and as such it is imperative that we maintain surgical specialties as an attractive career option.”

Responding to the letter, a spokesman for the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh said, “The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland operates in a different jurisdiction and within different parameters from the [royal surgical colleges in England and Scotland].

“The three UK royal surgical colleges and RCSI routinely re-examine and discuss all factors relating to surgical training, including the JCST training fee, and we will continue to do so. Any future decision in relation to the specific question of the JCST training fee will be taken by the colleges collectively.”

A spokeswoman for the Royal College of Surgeons of England said, “We note the concerns of the trainees in their letter, and this will be discussed at the next joint colleges surgical meeting in the autumn.” A spokeswoman for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow said that it couldn’t comment specifically on the issue as the letter was sent to all three of the surgical royal colleges, but she added that the letter would be given “serious consideration.”

Abi Rimmer BMJ Careers

 arimmer@bmj.com

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