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Scotland Deanery

Home of Medical and Dental Excellence

COVID-19 information and guidance as we receive it

Professor Rowan Parks, Acting Medical Director - Letter to Trainees 03.07.20

Dear Trainee


It is amazing to think that that we have now passed the 100 day milestone since the Government announced a national lockdown due to COVID-19. This has had a major impact on life in general, but particularly for those working in healthcare. I am particularly aware of the outstanding efforts and contributions of trainees during this pandemic, but fully appreciate the anxiety and challenges that it has brought for many, including on our BAME colleagues, who will be able to discuss some of their concerns in a webinar we are organising in the coming weeks. However, what is now encouraging is to see the incredible efforts being made across the entire NHS Scotland system to remobilise and return to the ‘new normal’ of business and activity.

I very much hope that you have gained competencies over the past 3 months and would encourage you, whether continuing in a training programme or in a LAT post, to document and record these experiences and learning, as it is all useful in your broader professional development.

I am delighted to report that ARCPs have been progressing well and the majority of trainees are gaining standard ARCP outcomes, which is a credit to all trainees and trainers. For those whose training has been significantly affected by COVID-19 and who have received one of the new ‘no fault’ ARCP outcome 10s, the deanery is keen to be supportive in helping you reach your training goals.  For most, it is hoped that this can be achieved as you progress in your next year of training, but recognise for some this will require additional time which will be facilitated.  Trainees can discuss this with their TPDs or APGDs if they have any concerns.

NES has worked very closely with Directors of Medical Education (DMEs) on principles to enable return of trainees to their programmes following redeployment, with most trainees having now returned to their original placement.  Rotations are planned for August and inductions will go ahead, taking account of Scottish Government guidelines for social distancing, with the DMEs already preparing for this.  Trainees will be contacted in due course. NES has provided advice for trainees who may be delayed in starting their programme due to the various restrictions secondary to COVID and further information is available on the Scotland Deanery website. 

NES is working with DMEs and Medical Directors to ensure that education and training is considered as services restart within the clinical environment. We aim to formally resume teaching and educational activities from August and are aware that, in some specialties and regions, this is starting to occur even now.  TPDs and APGDs are working with individuals in Health Boards, looking at how to deliver formal teaching from August. We anticipate increased use of online teaching material and have developed principles for simulation training that have been shared with Health Board simulation leads. We also intend to restart the simulation training packages for IST and IMT training.

I would wish to highlight that study leave and funding is available for trainees and I would encourage you to review your curricular requirements and make appropriate requests.  As always, trainees need to discuss requests with service leads and apply using the normal Deanery process.  I would also remind Foundation doctors that they can undertake ‘Tasters’ and I would encourage you to consider this, recognising that it may be dependent on availability and capacity at a local Health Board level.

The Scotland Deanery is currently undertaking a survey of trainees who are shielding or working with restrictions and we will provide further guidance in due course in line with Scottish Government advice. For those moving to a new placement in August, please ensure that any relevant information is provided to allow a timely risk assessment and that appropriate support can be offered to maximise learning opportunities depending on your individual circumstances. Support is available from the Professional Support Unit for any trainee with concerns. Our aim is to manage trainees on a case-by-case basis as we recognise the challenges for some doctors in progressing their training and careers.

We will soon be launching a Scottish COVID-19 Trainee Questionnaire. The aim of this survey is to capture your professional experiences during the COVID-19 emergency, how your own health and wellbeing was affected during this time, in what way your training and work was impacted, and what NES could have done differently to better support you during this difficult time. We trust this might inform how we should respond to future surges of the pandemic or other challenges should this be necessary in the future.

I hope that you manage to take some leave over the coming weeks and months and get some well-earned rest and relaxation. Above all, look after yourselves and continue to look out and care for your family, friends and colleagues. 

With best wishes.


Professor Rowan Parks

Acting Medical Director



This page was last updated on: 06.07.2020 at 08.39