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Appropriate release of medical colleagues for work in the health system

25 May 2022

We welcome publication of a new letter that reinforces the critical importance of the work our examiners, surgical tutors, board members and scores of other volunteers undertake for the College.

This follows many months of discussing with colleagues at the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) on how to address reports that professional activities are being compromised due to other pressures on surgical teams.

We are delighted to see the lobbying pay off in the form of this strong expression of support for the work you undertake for your College. The letter is issued jointly by NHS England and the AoMRC. We understand the Chief Medical Officers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also agreed to the principles contained in the letter, and that similar communications will be issued in the devolved nations soon.

We hope that, going forward, if members or fellows come under pressure to reduce their professional activities, they can cite this letter, which comes from the top of the NHS. It is unequivocal that work undertaken on behalf of colleges that is relevant to the quality and safety of patient care – medical education and training, work on curriculums and examinations, planning, delivery and independent assurance of health services – should be regarded as an investment in the improvement of patient care.

In other words, this work is not optional, it is crucial to the safety and quality of health services.

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