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ISSN: 1642-5758
Anaesthesiology Intensive Therapy
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vol. 52
Letter to the Editor

Postgraduate education and specialty training in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic: experience from a large teaching hospital in the United Kingdom

Tomasz Torlinski
Randeep Kaur Mullhi
Dhruv Parekh
1, 2
Ranjna Basra
Alexander Midgley-Hunt
Martin O’Connell
1, 3
Muzzammil Ali

Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS FT, United Kingdom
Critical Care, Birmingham Acute Care Research Group, Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Department of Anaesthetics and Critical Care, Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, United Kingdom
Anaesthesiol Intensive Ther 2020; 52, 5: 434–437
Online publish date: 2020/12/04
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Dear Editor,
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of life, particularly in the health care sector. Initially, the focus of organizations was to ensure the safety of the public and the continuous provision of health services [1]. As such, other aspects of healthcare which were not directly related to the management of the pandemic, such as specialty training or post-graduate education, were limited or postponed. Many medical congresses and conferences were similarly delayed or transitioned to a virtual platform. However, as soon as it became clear that the pandemic was far from over, it was crucial to restore long-term medical training and education as a priority [2, 3].
In this correspondence, we describe the steps taken by the Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, one of the largest post-graduate training centres in the United Kingdom. Training in anaes­thesia and intensive care medicine (ICM) in the United Kingdom share a common pathway during core training years. After attaining core competencies, the training pathways diverge. At the end of the required period of speciality training, a certificate of completion of training and specialist registration in the respective field of either anaesthesia or ICM is obtained. However, a number of trainees pursue training pathways in both anaesthesia and ICM and are awarded dual certification.
Due to this training structure, we have two departmental subdivisions responsible for post-graduate education; one for anaesthesia and the other for ICM. The two subdivisions work autonomously although they are closely aligned. This structure is necessary in view of the sheer number of trainee doctors in our Department; we have more than 50 doctors in our programmes of specialty training and a similar number of trainees on rotations from other branches of medicine. Furthermore, the department employs over 100 doctors who have completed specialist training (consultants) in anaesthesia, intensive care or indeed both of these specialities. Our Intensive Care Unit education group is responsible for providing training and continuous post-graduate education to the following groups of doctors:
Foundation Years doctors (Postgra­duate interns),
Trainee doctors (Residents) in anaes­thesia who have chosen a single path of specialisation,
Trainee doctors (Residents) in intensive care medicine who have chosen both a single...

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