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8 May 2014
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Valuing the Doctor in Training: A new charter from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

Doctors in training are a valuable resource, who make a major contribution to the care of patients across the health care system through their daily work.  They are also future consultants, whose potential requires nurturing and, as their job title of trainee suggests, training. How are these two closely aligned roles of training and service provision to be reconciled?

The answer is not simple, however the Academy Trainee Doctors’ Group (ATDG), which brings together a huge spectrum of specialty trainee groups, has formulated a charter to define the principles.  The document considers the fundamental question of how to balance a trainee’s commitments to service provision with the wider aspects of the training experience.  What part do doctors in training have to play in ensuring patient safety, quality of care and improving training?  How can the system support them to fulfil these roles?  What can be done to improve the trainee experience and ensure a good quality of life?

The impetus for developing the charter came from the Collins inquiry into the Foundation programme, which urged protagonists in postgraduate medical education to develop a consensus statement of the role of the foundation doctor.  The ATDG worked closely with Health Education England’s Better Training Better Care Programme, which was charged with delivering the recommendations of both the Collins and Temple reports.  As the work progressed, it was felt that all doctors in training could benefit from a unifying statement of their roles and responsibilities. 

Inspiration for the way forward came from the excellent Charter for Medical Training, developed by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh ( The ATDG built on the RCPE’s work, expanding it to cover all specialties across the UK.

Once the initial ideas had coalesced in to a draft, organisations across the landscape of postgraduate medical education were consulted and asked to endorse the charter.  The project received widespread support and the text was strengthened on the basis of feedback from patients, employers, Colleges and Deans, amongst other.

The resultant Charter for Postgraduate Medical Training: Value of the Doctor in Training ‘articulates the wider value of postgraduate medical training, providing a practical foundation to ensure the highest standard of doctors’ training and quality of care.’  It is envisioned that it will form a basis for the way that doctors in training interact with the system which will lead to sustainable improvement in patient care.

To read the charter please follow this link:

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