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Less than full-time as a new normal in paediatric training in the UK
  1. Lauren Dhugga1,
  2. Maddy Fogarty Hover2,
  3. Rebecca Williams3,
  4. Sian Ludman4
  1. 1Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  2. 2Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Grimsby, UK
  3. 3University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol, UK
  4. 4Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Exeter, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lauren Dhugga, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK; lauren.dhugga{at}

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Less than full-time (LTFT) training is an option for all doctors in the UK.1 Until 2019 in England and Wales, to be considered for LTFT, working trainees had to demonstrate why they were unable to work full-time. Reasons that met the eligibility criteria were caring responsibilities or health reasons (category 1) and exceptional personal or professional commitments (category 2). In 2019, a pilot allowing any trainee to train LTFT for personal choice (category 3) began. Due to its success, categories for LTFT training were removed for all trainees in England and Wales in 2022.2

As part of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) national network of LTFT representatives, we observed that LTFT trainee numbers were increasing coinciding with the removal of LTFT categories. Accommodating more LTFT trainees in rotas designed upon full-time working patterns is increasingly difficult, and a loss of total workforce hours has contributed to increased rota gaps. There were no readily available data to represent the changing paediatric trainee workforce in the UK.

We collected data to demonstrate the total number of paediatric trainees in the UK, their working patterns as a proportion of whole time equivalent (WTE) and how these have changed over 3 training …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.