The NHS is facing unprecedented demand through this current surge of Covid and this is being felt particularly in London and the South East. We at HEE in London are very aware of the pressures in the system and that you as individuals are under. We thank you for your ongoing commitment and we are committed to ensuring as minimal disruption to your training as possible. However, in the circumstances there is a need for all efforts to be concentrated on getting everyone through the next 6-8 weeks mindful that the lockdown will start to reduce patients needing hospital care and the vaccination programmes reach will extend sufficiently to support reduced admissions. HEE continue to be committed to supporting all trainees during this period of uncertainty and have been working with key stakeholders to mitigate as much as possible the many challenges you are all facing within your training. We are writing to update you on recent developments.
Please note: these communications should be read in conjunction with the National HEE COVID-19 webpage here and a section of FAQs. The information in this update will change over time and we ask that you bear with us if guidance changes.
In this bulletin we will provide information on:
- February rotation pause and redeployments – London
- Trainee webinar
- ARCP derogations and link to webinar
- Professional Support Unit
- Spaces for listening
February rotations and redeployments
You will have received a separate communication earlier today regards the agreement for London to pause February rotations for four weeks. Details can be found at https://london.hee.nhs.uk/february-pause-and-exceptions-process-due-covid-19
We appreciate many trainees have needed to be redeployed. We extend our thanks to trainees for their forbearance, flexibility and for the peer support that they are extending to each other. Your trainers including your Educational Supervisors, Clinical Supervisors, Directors of Medical Education, Training Programme Directors and Heads of Schools are available if needed.
Training programmes have been maintained for as long as possible with principles agreed across the region however the scale of the pandemic has required further redeployments for academic foundation trainees, foundation trainees in GP practices and trainees in craft specialties.
A trainee webinar is being hosted by the London PG Deans for those affected to discuss the February pause. Details will follow shortly.
Trainee Webinar: Wednesday 20th January 2021 between 18:00 and 19:00
Please join following the link here https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_MzViOGMwN2YtYmNlMS00ZmQ3LWEzMWUtMTJmZDY0ZDUyYzMz%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%22ffa7912b-b097-4131-9c0f-d0e80755b2ab%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22a270b611-56f8-43a0-b63f-d5f44fe5b045%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d
Questions can be submitted HERE ahead of the event.
The four statutory health education bodies are in regular discussion with Royal Colleges and trainee representative groups, to ensure that specialty recruitment plans in 2021 take into account the changing clinical situation and reflect the current COVID restrictions.
We are committed to running fair and accessible processes, ensuring recruitment takes place so that doctors can progress their training in 2021, and we are endeavouring to provide as much notice as possible when recruitment plans change, however colleagues will understand that the situation is changing at pace.
In the autumn, each specialty developed 2021 recruitment plans which included alternative delivery methods if clinical staff were not available to support interviews or attend assessment centres due to service pressures.
Details of all the plans can be found on the Specialty Training website. Applicants for any specialties affected will be contacted as there is any update on plans. Major announcements will also be published on the latest news page of the Specialty Training website; at time of writing there have been announcements for those who will be sitting the Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA) as part of the recruitment process, and the cancellation of interviews for IMT.
The derogations put in place to support the previous ARCPs are still in place and extend to September 2021. This will ensure that the additional no fault outcomes are available to all trainees during the summer ARCPs.
Where trainees received an outcome 10.2 you will have a review date. If these dates now need to be extended due to availability of trainers or yourselves, we will ensure this happens.
Please note that any PYAs are currently paused.
An ARCP webinar was held on 16 December and is now available on YouTube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPZsAQtisOc
FAQ's including answers to questions we were unable to answer, due to time on the night can be found on our website https://www.hee.nhs.uk/specialty-trainees
We are also aiming to hold a foundation specific ARCP webinar in the next few months as we understand for our foundation year one doctors you won’t have experience of this before.
The ARCP section of HEE website with ARCP guidance document can be found at https://www.hee.nhs.uk/specialty-trainees for specialty trainees and at https://foundationprogramme.nhs.uk/curriculum/arcp/ for foundation trainees.
Royal Colleges are all working to see what exams can continue. Please keep an eye on the Royal College websites where they will provide updates on any changes. Where these may impact on progression the necessary discussions are taking place so that national guidance will be available, please be patient as there are many stakeholders involved.
The AOMRC have made a small update to their guidance which can be found at
Latest information on the EU settlement scheme can be found at https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families
The UKVI have expanded the automatic one-year extension scheme for frontline healthcare workers and their dependants, as announced by the Home Secretary on 20 November 2020.
This allows an automatic extension of leave free of charge if the current leave expires between 01 October 2020 and 31 March 2021 (where individual is remaining with their existing sponsor).
The Overseas Sponsorship Team has contacted all trainees that we are aware of who will be eligible for this extension.
While we anticipate that the majority of trainees will have their BRPs returned before they commence training, where this is not possible, they are able to start in post while the UKVI are processing their extension. Employers will request evidence from the trainee that they have sent their BRPs to the UKVI for the automatic extension process. Furthermore, employers will need to ensure that copies of the BRPs are obtained when they are received by the trainees for continued right to work status.
If a trainee is any doubt about their immigration status and visa requirements, further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-tier-2-4-and-5-sponsors.
The HEE Overseas Sponsorship team can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Professional Support Unit (PSU) is a free service primarily dedicated to supporting the progression of postgraduate training for NHS healthcare professionals. We work independently of Specialty Schools, Training Programmes or Trusts and can offer confidential and impartial support more advice for those who need it.
COVID-19 Wellbeing Hub
The PSU has developed a COVID-19 Wellbeing Hub where we have gathered information and resources together to help you and signpost you to routes for support. There is also information here that shielding trainees will find useful.
PSU Pandemic Podcasts
Please view the PSU Pandemic Podcasts. You can listen to all ten of our episodes here
SuppoRTT – Supported Return to Training
The London & Kent, Surrey and Sussex Supported Return to Training (SuppoRTT) programme aims to support all trainees to safely and confidently return to training after a sustained period of absence. This includes trainees who are shielding or otherwise displaced during COVID-19. A short video about and information on how to apply found here: https://london.hee.nhs.uk/professional-development/supported-return-training
We will be updating further as further information becomes available but be assured that HEE are working with stakeholders at national and regional level on the impact. And we end this bulletin asking you to think about yourselves, below is an offer to join an hour session:
Spaces for Listening – complete this link to register
Spaces for Listening recognises that many are under acute strain due to demands related to COVID-19, amongst other pressures in life and work. This one hour sessions provides an opportunity for NHS staff in London who may be feeling overwhelmed to briefly stop and decompress. There will be further events planned.
- Thursday, 21st Jan (1500-1600; registration closes Wed, 20th Jan at 1200)
If you do have any queries in the meantime, please continue to contact us via the PGMDE Support Portal.
Angela on behalf of PG Deans