Clarification of ACCS (anaesthetics) trainee classification 

doctor holding notes

The Royal College of Anaesthetics (RCoA) has confirmed an administrative change to the acute core common stem (ACCS) training programme curriculum which clarifies the classification of third year ACCS (anaesthetics) trainees.

A review of the curriculum

ACCS is a three-year core training programme which rotates through emergency medicine, general (internal) medicine, anaesthetics and intensive care medicine.

The Royal College has recently made clarifications in its ACCS (anaesthetics) curriculum to more accurately reflect the higher stage of training that ACCS trainees receive compared to their colleagues in the second year of core training in anaesthetics. RCoA confirmed in January 2018 that the General Medical Council (GMC) has approved the administrative change to the ACCS curriculum.

NHS Employers has been closely involved with these developments, to ensure that the impact from employment and contractual perspectives were appropriately considered.

The amended curriculum can be accessed via the RCoA website.

The GMC has confirmed that the curriculum demonstrates sufficient educational progression between second and third years of this training pathway, for third year (formerly CT2(b)) trainees to be classified as CT3 for employment purposes.

What has changed?

Previously, the ACCS curriculum clearly mapped training to the competences for CT2 core anaesthetics.  The RCoA's ACCS core training programme curriculum (p.12) stated that: The first two years of ACCS training (GIM(Acute), EM, Anaesthetics and ICM) are followed by a year of Anaesthetic experience at CT2 level.

In turn, the 2016 terms and conditions for doctors in training states that: Doctors shall be paid a basic salary at a nodal pay point linked to the grade and the level of responsibility required in the post to which they have been appointed.

What does this mean for trainees and employers? 

With effect from 1 January 2018, third year ACCS (anaesthetics) trainees need to be trained according to the updated curriculum, and classified as CT3 trainees. Health Education England is working with deans and tutors to ensure they are appropriately versed.

Employers will now need to review working arrangements for these trainees. The change will need to be consistently reflected in employment terms and rotational grids. Trainees at the revised CT3 level will now need to be appointed to and be expected to work in a more senior capacity. They will be remunerated - and their posts funded – accordingly.

Details about pay scales for doctors in training can be found on our pay and conditions circular.

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