Intended for healthcare professionals

CCBYNC Open access

Rate of undesirable events at beginning of academic year: retrospective cohort study

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 14 October 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3974

What is the correct length for training posts?

This paper raises interesting questions about the optimal
length of jobs for doctor in training. Traditionally in the
United Kingdom, junior doctors used to work two six-month
rotations in a year. However, in the last five years
restructuring in post-graduate training has seen doctors
move to work three four-month posts in a year, in order to
allow them to experience a greater range of specialities.
Armstrong et al (2008) have suggested such a move has led to
a decrease in productivity in the emergency department.
Extrapolating the results of this study shows these changes
may also impact on patient care.

In the face of such evidence, surely it is now time for the
educational requirements of trainees to be balanced against
both the needs of the service and patients, and
consideration given to extending the time junior doctors
spend in each post.

Armstrong PA, White AL, Thakore S. Senior house officers and
foundation year doctors in emergency medicine: do they
perform equally? A prospective observational study. Emerg
Med J. 2008 Nov;25(11):725-7.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

16 October 2009
David King
ST1, Paediatrics
Hull Royal Infirmary, Hull, HU3 2JZ