02 May 2020

National Selection to T&O Training in England, 2020

As we all reflect with varying emotions on the 2020 T&O trainee selection process, the opportunity to draw constructive conclusions should not be lost. It is important to understand the nature of the changes introduced this year, why those changes were required and how the decision-making process works.

Rob Gregory (SAC Chair) and Mark Crowther (SDG Chair) have released an open letter to trainees expressing their sympathy to those affected by deficiencies in the process, their praise for the way in which T&O trainees have responded to the challenges posed by Covid-19, and the detailed background to the selection process in England undertaken this year. Controversial issues such as the use of a non-validated self-assessment score as the sole selection method, the role of academic output in the scoring system, the rationale for the use of a denominator, the tie-break methodology, the determination of the appointability threshold score, the search for bias within the process and the rationale for score variation relating to T&O experience are all explained in detail.

We must accept that we may have a selection process that in the future requires refinement and must be willing to make any necessary changes, whilst remaining aware that entry into T&O training is a competitive process that by its very nature will always be accompanied by elation and disappointment in equal measure.

The predicted outcome from this year’s selection process is that in the latter part of the year we will welcome into our specialty a cohort of excellent trainees, a cohort in no way inferior to any other of recent years, and in no way lucky. The challenge for next year is to ensure that all stakeholders regain confidence in a selection process that is safe, fair and effective.

Don McBride