Trainee and TPD issues

There has been an inevitable impact on training and progression of surgical trainees due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are discussing the evolving situation with BOTA and with the SAC for T&O, which is actively engaging with the main stakeholders to help deliver a pragmatic solution to the wide range of training issues that will affect everyone this year. As the situation is changing rapidly we will provide more information as soon as we are able. Below are some resources and updates that we hope you will find useful.

Resources for Trainees and Trainers

Lisa Hadfield-Law, the BOA’s Education Advisor, has produced some resources to help and support at this time. 

Below is a 12 minute screencast to help trainers and trainees maximise opportunities for learning and developing their portfolio during COVID-19.


Generic professional capabilities (GPCS) which may be relevant to work during COVID-19 pandemic image

Generic professional capabilities (GPCS) which may be relevant to work during COVID-19 pandemic

How to register assessors who do not have ISCP accounts image

How to register assessors who do not have ISCP accounts


Podcast (3rd June) - Recovery & Resuming 'New Normal' in Orthopaedic Training & Education with Lisa Hadfield-Law

This #TheCoronaCast epidode discusses how to maximise the opportunities to gain the necessary experience in the 'new normal' setting including theatre lists, virtual clinics and ward rounds, what makes a good surgical trainer, how novel platforms including virtual teaching, podcasts and webinars can be more widely adopted, and how to motivate and engage with junior staff including foundation doctors and core surgical trainees.

Webinars from Orthohub and RCSEngland with guidance for trainees

Orthohub ran a 1 hour webinar on 22nd April featuring Lisa Hadfield-Law, Rob Gregory and Tricia Campbell which was very informative and well received. A recording is available to watch below.


RCSEngland held a 1 hour Webinar on 23rd April which was a joint collaboration with ASiT and BOTA focusing on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting trainees progression and day to day lives.


Podcasts from BOTA President, Tricia Campbell

20th March: Tricia discusses updates from the JCST, Health Education England and the GMC to try and help alleviate concerns trainees may have, including not being able to complete courses and the ARCP Process.

9th April: Tricia discusses National ST3 Selection, the ARCP process for trainees including extensions to training, opportunities to continue gaining WBAs and innovative ways regions are continuing to teach.

Additional information and resources for trainees and TPD issues

Curriculum update

We heard on 30th April that the decision has been made to delay the launch of the new curriculum until August 2021 in light of the situation with COVID-19. Revised transition and implementation plans are now available and the ISCP website has a curriculum section here which will be updated in due course with further information to support this.

National selection

Rob Gregory (SAC Chair) and Mark Crowther (SDG Chair) have released an open letter (on 2nd May) to trainees regarding the national selection process in England undertaken this year. The letter can be downloaded here.

BOA Statement on National Selection published 23rd April 2020:

The results of national selection at ST3 were announced by HEE on Wednesday 22nd April. It rapidly became apparent that the number of applicants offered posts was considerably less than anticipated. This led to a review of the way in which the scores were processed and as a result an error in one very specific and important area was identified. All applicants were promptly advised that the scoring process was being reviewed, that the revised results would be announced promptly, and that applicants already advised that they had been successful would not be affected. The revised results have now been announced.

We are aware of the additional anxiety that will have resulted from this unfortunate error, are sympathetic to all those affected, but remain confident that the ultimate outcome of the amended selection process is as safe as possible under the circumstances.



JCST's statement on trainee progression was updated on 27th April and contains information to allow trainees to plan for the coming months.

Regarding ARCPs, both a letter and a management document has been published by HEE explaining decisions that have been made which can be found here. Further clarification on some points, especially how extra time is awarded and in what form, is awaited and the BOA will endeavour to post as soon as it becomes available.

Regarding rotations of trainees, an HEE letter has been published on 16th March 2020 (see HEE letter here). In general no trainees are moving to new hospitals, but some rotations within a hospital are still occurring with appropriate permissions and where there would not be a requirement for new hospital induction processes to take place.

Learning opportunities and ISCP recording

There will be some unique opportunities for learning over the pandemic period. Many members have asked about recording evidence on ISCP. The BOA’s Education Advisor, Lisa Hadfield-Law, has created a quick reference guide to help you here.

JCST have also developed guidance for recording COVID-19 experience in ISCP, available here.

Mental health and wellbeing

Trainees may also be interested in this BMJ article which addresses some crucial points regarding the mental and physical impact on trainees. The BOA is aware that the COVID-19 situation can cause stress and anxiety for health professionals. The BMJ article highlights some of the particular impacts for trainees, and we would like to highlight the NHS people service, providing mental health and emotional wellbeing support for workers on the front line of COVID-19. Anyone who wishes to access this support can find out more at:

Additionally Frontline19 provides free online mental health and emotional wellbeing services to support frontline workers.