Skip to main content

ATDG statement: COVID pressures and trainee doctors

We are in the midst of the most challenging time that the NHS has ever faced. The continued evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and the threats posed (and now experienced) by the Omicron variant are heightening this pressure. Trainee doctors share the significant concerns for the health service expressed in yesterday’s Academy statement.

We work across all grades, stages of training and specialties and are an integral part of the NHS workforce which is working tirelessly and continuously to look after patients. The impact cannot be underestimated; we are also feeling the significant pressures and demands that other staff in the NHS are experiencing. Junior doctor training has been significantly disrupted throughout the pandemic and the implementation of the training recovery programme has been impeded due to the necessity to maintain service provision.

Like everyone else, we also face anxieties about our own health and that of our families, friends and relatives abroad. There is strong evidence there has been a significant impact on trainee well-being with many experiencing burnout. Trainee doctors represent part of the ‘next generation’ of the health service, and without them and a healthy workforce, the health service cannot survive.

Despite this set of difficult circumstances, we have continued to do our jobs diligently and to the best of our ability; some have been redeployed to other clinical specialties to provide assistance and others have seen the workload of their own specialties grow exponentially.

In representing trainee doctors across the four nations, we welcome the Academy statement on the Omicron variant, and support the suggested approach for tackling this crisis. It is imperative that prompt steps are taken to address these urgent issues.

As Chair of the ATDG, I would also like to thank each and every trainee doctor for the work they are doing to support the NHS and the patient population in these incredibly challenging circumstances. The ATDG is committed to helping and supporting you and will continue to work with the Academy, the medical royal colleges and faculties, and other stakeholders to support and listen to trainee views and help input into the resources that trainees need both now and in the future.

Dr Matthew Clarke, Chair, ATDG

16 December 2021