There are many factors that have impacted on the realm of Surgical Training over the past number of years including, the introduction of EWTD, team working, and graduate entry medicine has meant the age profile of those entering training has changed and the gender balance has altered with women accounting for almost 50% of new trainees in 2020.
Currently the only formalised flexible training pathway for trainees in Ireland is the National Flexible
Training Scheme, which accommodates 16 whole time equivalent (WTEs) supernumerary trainees per
year i.e. up to 32 participants confined to half time posts (.5 WTE) at any one time. This equates to
approximately 0.4% of trainees in Ireland working less than full-time and is insufficient to meet the needs of this highly diverse cohort of doctors working in the Irish health system.
There has been a gradual move to less than full time (LTFT) however, the number of surgical trainees availing of this continues to remain low.
The HSE National Doctors Training and Planning (NDTP) are committed to expanding flexible training options for trainees, beyond current formalised scheme which has become saturated in recent years.
A small scale Pilot for July 2021 training year is now proposed
The NDPT are proposing that the college and Programme Training directors work closely to facilitate and support trainees who may wish to avail of alternative LTFT options of training such as
Where two trainees are interested in sharing the same post, the Specialty Programme /Surgical Affairs will work with them to support the successful functioning of this arrangement from both the training and service provision perspective.
The NDTP will provide extra funding equivalent to 1.6 WTE to allow for the design of a bespoke arrangement.
3 Day week:
If two trainees wish to work a 3 day week and are occupying the same post (1.2) funding will be made available for the extra .2 to the hospital to facilitate this.
1 Trainee seeking a 3 day week & 1 Trainee seeking a 4 day week.
If both trainees can be matched to the same post additional funding of .4 of a post will be provided to the hospital to facilitate this
2 Trainees seeking a 4 day week
If both trainees can be matched to one full time training post additional funding of .6 post will be provided to the hospital to facilitate this.
3 Trainees seeking a 4 day week
If a specialty has 3 trainees all of whom wish to work a 4 day week and they can be matched to the same location. This translates to 2.4 posts and funding will be provided to the hospital for .4. of a post. funding will be provided (2.4 WTE) (.4 LTFT fund required)
The options that have been outlined here are not prescriptive and requests for similar working arrangements that will support LTFT will be considered.
If a trainee is interested in applying for less than full time training the advice is to contact their Programme Director as early as possible as once training allocations are agreed it can be challenging to review them. Following the discussion with the Programme Director a formal expression of interest should then be submitted to the Specialty Administrator.
It is important to note that if a trainee opts for LTFT it will have impact on the duration of training required to CCST