The RCP welcomes the report published by the Clinical Academic Training Forum (CATF) outlining how clinical academics should be supported to progress with training in 2020.
The CATF, which the RCP as well as others such as Health Education England, the Wellcome Trust and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) are members of, calls for a ‘bespoke assessment’ for all clinical academic trainees.
Such an assessment, led by an experienced member of the local academic partnership or equivalent, would consider the disruption to their research and clinical training needs.
Following the consensus statement that the RCP convened in March 2020 with other research organisations to support clinical academic trainees and a more recent letter to key stakeholders, this CATF report rightly emphasises that support is particularly needed for those at career transition and stresses the need for flexibility. It recommends specific actions for postgraduate deans, universities, funders and trainees themselves.
This report follows the NIHR publishing its Framework for restarting research last week, much of which has been paused owing to the disruption caused by COVID-19. This is welcome news, as medical research has a huge role to play in supporting better patient outcomes for COVID-19 and beyond, particularly in areas with the highest health inequalities.
The RCP’s academic vice president Cheng-Hock Toh will help support this restart through membership of the NIHR’s Restart Advisory Group.
Commenting on the RCP's priorities for the restart of research, Professor Toh said:
"In all our work to support the restart of research activity, we will continue to emphasise the need for clinical academics to have additional funding and time to complete their research work, which may be longer than their redeployment to full time clinical care".