Gold Guide seventh edition

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The seventh edition of the Gold Guide is now available, replacing all previous versions of the guide with immediate effect. 

The Gold Guide is a reference guide for postgraduate specialty training in the UK. It is written by the four UK health departments and published by Health Education England (HEE). 

All trainees undertaking core, and/or specialty training programmes that commenced from 1 August 2017, are employed under the regulations set out in this guidance, of which revisions are made on a yearly basis. 

We have identified the key areas of change which could have implications for employers as listed below. 

Section 2: roles and responsibilities 

Increasing demands on the role of the educational supervisor and training programme director, who will need to ensure that they have sufficient time to undertake these roles during the job planning process. 

Section 3: becoming a specialty registrar 

Training status 

A provision has been introduced to provide postgraduate deans with an opportunity to review the training status of trainees who have been or are likely to be unable to train for periods more than two years. 

This is for educational reasons and will ensure that the doctors working within the NHS satisfy the level of competencies required for a doctor for the purposes of maintaining safe levels of patient care.  

Deferring the start of a specialty training programme

In exceptional circumstances and with the postgraduate dean’s approval, a period of deferral could be extended to a maximum of two years before the doctor would need to reapply for a training post. 

Employers require sufficient notice of a trainee’s intention to enter a period of deferral of two years and of their intention to re-enter training if their circumstances change. This will allow them sufficient time to seek a replacement to cover the vacancy on the rota arising from the deferral and identify a suitable placement for them to occupy on their return. 

Less than full time (LTFT) training  

The LTFT section has been revised to ensure that it provides the opportunity for all trainees to access less than full-time opportunities. For example: trainees who wish to undertake continuing medical research as a bridge to progression in integrated academic training can apply for LTFT training under Category 2. 

Employers will be consulted, as part of the LTFT application process, on arrangements for placements as part of the LTFT application process. 

Trainees undertaking LTFT training can undertake additional work providing that it meets the requirements of GMC Good Medical Practice and does not negatively impact on their training. Trainees will be required to declare any additional work undertaken on their Form R which will be reviewed by the postgraduate dean, as responsible officer, for the purposes of revalidation. 

Employers will be consulted, as part of the LTFT application process, on arrangements for placements and funding as part of the LTFT application process. 

Trainees undertaking LTFT training should receive equitable access to study leave and funding. 

Section 4: progressing as a specialty trainee 

The guide sets out clearer advice regarding the management of a doctor who has been awarded an Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) Outcome 5. For example, the panel can now agree the timescale in which the trainee must provide additional evidence following the award of an Outcome 5, as opposed to a two week deadline. 

Appeals are now to be held as soon as it is practical and without unreasonable delay. Previously this was within 15 days. Employers will need to be kept informed throughout the appeals process. 

As curricula is now outcome and not time based, an ARCP Outcome 6 and Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) date can be brought forward for trainees who progress more rapidly as part of the ARCP process. This is still subject to completion of assessments, competencies, exams and minimum time required as per the EU directive. For the purposes of maintaining service continuity and safe levels of patient care, trainees will still be subject to fulfilment of their contractual notice periods, as defined by the 2016 Terms and Conditions for Junior Doctors and Dentists in Training. 

Section 5: applying for consultant posts 

Trainees may apply for a consultant post and be interviewed up to six months prior to their anticipated CCT/ Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration – Combined Programme (CESR(CP)) date if progress has been satisfactory and it is anticipated that the final ARCP outcome will recommend that training is completed by the time the suggested CCT/CESR(CP) date is reached. 

In circumstances when the six-month period is interrupted by statutory leave, thus extending the six-month period, it is a decision for the employer as to whether the trainee is eligible for the consultant post. 

Further information 

To download a copy of the Gold Guide and for further information on the key changes can be found here.  


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