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Protected trainer time raised by Faculty of Radiologists and Radiation Oncologists

By Catherine Reilly - 19th Mar 2023


The RCSI Faculty of Radiologists and Radiation Oncologists wrote to hospital CEOs and managers “to remind them of the necessity for protected training time” for trainers to ensure ongoing accreditation for the sites, according to a spokesperson.

The correspondence followed Medical Council accreditation exercises in 2021 for the programmes of specialist training in radiology and radiation oncology. One of the conditions of approval placed on both programmes was that the Faculty advocate to stakeholders on the need for protected trainer time. Both of the programmes were approved for five years.

The Council’s accreditation report for the radiology programme noted: “The trainees stated that the trainers do not always have adequate time for training due to the shortage of consultant radiologists. They reported that although informal tutorials might be cut short, the formal lectures that they get every week are well protected.”

The accreditation report for radiation oncology referred to the Faculty’s statement that workload was increasing due to rising cancer cases and radiotherapy treatments becoming more complicated. The situation had a “marked impact” on both trainees and trainers.

The Faculty stated that there were times when clinical service demands encroached on protected time for trainers. There was no stipulated protected time each week.

“The trainers stated that the main challenge was to obtain protected training time while maintaining the number of working hours within the acceptable limit, because they did not want to exceed the number of working hours for the trainers and trainees.”

Another condition arising from both accreditation exercises was the need for the Faculty to develop a disability policy.

An RCSI spokesperson said: “The Faculty of Radiologists and Radiation Oncologists, RCSI, fosters diversity and is dedicated to preventing discrimination in the organisation and function of the Faculty.”

“The Faculty reaffirms its commitment to these principles and formalises a framework to be followed for persons indicating a disability at the time of application to, or during completion of, one of the training schemes of the Faculty. The Faculty also underlines its commitment to the principles of inclusive training and assessment, supporting the rights of trainees to a work environment that is accessible and free from discrimination.”

A disability policy was formulated and is available on the Faculty’s website.

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