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Strikes could jeopardise junior doctors’ training progression

5 September 2016

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Health Education England (HEE) has warned junior doctors that prolonged industrial action may call into question their training and registration.

HEE has said they will comply with advice from the General Medical Council (GMC), which says that if a trainee misses more than two weeks of training then their progression will be “reviewed at their next Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP)”.

Meanwhile, the GMC has also said that junior doctors could face “sanctions” if a lack of patient care becomes harmful during the strikes.

The British Medical Association has approved industrial action that will see junior doctors walk out for five days in September, October, November and December.

Niall Dickson, GMC chief executive, said: “The GMC has powers under the [1983 Medical] Act to investigate and apply sanctions to any doctor whose behaviour has fallen consistently or seriously below the standards required.

“Where we are presented with evidence that a doctor’s actions may have directly led to a patient or patients coming to significant harm, we would be obliged to investigate and if necessary take appropriate action.”

In a statement the GMC asked every doctor thinking of striking to “pause and consider the possible implications for patients”.

Professor Terence Stephenson, chair of the GMC, added: “We recognise the frustration and alienation of doctors in training and indeed their legal right to take industrial action.

“However, we are extremely concerned about the impact which this prolonged campaign of industrial action will have on patients’ care and on the public’s trust in doctors.

“The further action announced by the BMA will inevitably add to the cumulative impact of past industrial action on patients’ care.”

HEE has also said the strikes will impact education and training events involving senior clinicians, with general practice recruitment to be rearranged.

The education body said this would affect the national recruitment timetable, which “may need to be amended”.

Recruitment in the following specialties will also be rearranged: anaesthesia, combined infection training, clinical genetics, gastroenterology, geriatric medicine, plastic surgery, rheumatology and gynaecological oncology.