Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Medical Training

The firm: does it hold the answers to teamworking and morale?

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4105 (Published 10 June 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l4105

Re: Consequences of losing firm: true or false ?

Having had surgical training between mid - 80s and early 90s in traditional firms led by a consultant and supported by senior registrar, registrar and house surgeons (senior and junior) and following completion of the training , worked as a consultant till date, has given me an opportunity to appreciate the gains and losses incurred under both schemes. In all honesty, both systems have their inherent advantages and disadvantages, and both are not perfect. When one speaks to trainees of current system, they favour the present system of training with shift system as this is thought to be more humane and safe in comparison to the past system which included long hours of on calls (24 hours on week days and 72 hours on the weekends) with potential risks to the patients and doctors from lack of rest and exhaustion. Lack of continuity of patients care and incomplete connection with the patients and team are the major barriers to comprehensive training in the current system. However, eight years of structured current surgical training programme (core and specialist training) with well described curriculum and objective examinations (MRCS and FRCS) on completion of stipulated training, is at par with surgical training schemes internationally, including USA and Australia, as far as I am aware. It must be acknowledged that NHS in UK is under financial constraints and its repercussion as reflected by the reduced number of staffs (doctors and nurses) has significant implications on the workload of doctors, particularly the consultants, and the quality of training. It is important to assess issues surrounding the current training scheme and address them commensurate with the rapidly advancing science and technology in medicine.

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 June 2019
Badri Man Shrestha
Consultant Transplant Surgeon
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Sheffield, UK