During the present coronavirus emergency, there will inevitably be shortages of appropriately qualified medical staff on acute medicine units and respiratory/general medical wards. There may therefore be great pressure on more junior medical staff to ‘act up’ in more senior roles and whilst this process may undoubtedly have educational benefits, it is essential that it is regulated appropriately. The main principles around this should be:
- Patient safety – ie ensuring junior doctors have the appropriate level of capability to perform in their enhanced role
- Trainee safety – ensuring that trainees are able to ensure their own personal safety and protection from infection within their new role
- Trainee mental health – ensuring that trainees are not being coerced or otherwise pressured into performing roles that they do not feel capable of fulfilling
- Educational benefit – although the principal driver of “acting up” will be service provision, it is important that any educational benefits are maximised (eg to allow the trainee to demonstrate that they have attained the appropriate level of capability for progression into the next year of training)
We have previously published guidance on this but we have updated it specifically to cover the current emergency, click here to download the full guidance.