Message from the FICM Dean: Next steps for the workforce

24 April 2020

Next steps for the workforce

It has been 24 hours since Health Education England’s announcement that there will be 100 new positions for trainees recruited in this year’s national recruitment. We have worked with them closely in recent weeks to both the make the case and then help HEE in turn make their case to the Department of Health & Social Care (and ultimately the Treasury). It has taken a pandemic, but, as with Comprehensive Critical Care 20 years ago, sometimes it takes an emergency to speed matters along. This means we have gone from 72 posts in 2012, to over 160 last year and now to over 250 this year. We are in discussion with COPMeD both centrally and, in the next stage, with our Regional Advisors and Programme Directors, about the appropriate distribution of these posts across England. We will remain in liaison with HEE West Midlands, who kindly manage the national recruitment offers process.

It is wonderful to be able to share this good news during difficult times. However, there is so much more still to do, our workforce strategy will continue with necessary next steps, including:

  • Devolved nations. Encouraging a similar investment in training funding in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
  • Longer term training investment. Working longer term with HEE to ensure that the funding this year is not purely a one-off investment.
  • A national review of critical care services. We will keep championing the need for a full national review of critical care, as was achieved in Wales. I will be making this case in a meeting today with Simon Stevens. New training numbers will not be enough in and of themselves, without a review of service resource, innovative practices and workforce for the wider multiprofessional team.
  • ACCPs. Working with HEE through both the Advanced Clinical Practitioner and Medical Associate Professional frameworks to further expand the numbers of Advanced Critical Care Practitioners.
  • Standards. Protecting workforce, recruitment, training and service standards. Working with the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board to ensure the continuity of ICM/physician training following the GMC’s positive reception to our proposals.
  • More work on censuses, wellbeing, sustainability and lifelong Intensive Care Medicine through our Careers, Recruitment & Workforce Committee.

This has been a testing time for our specialty, but such an opportunity to demonstrate to so many of our colleagues, politicians and the general public what an important part of the NHS we are. It is good to take a rare opportunity as a whole service to give ourselves a pat on the back.

Alison Pittard,