RACS has decided to postpone all hospital training post accreditation visits for up 12 months given the likely significant disruptions to health services across Australia and New Zealand.
The period of accreditation will be automatically extended by up to 12 months if your hospital is expecting an accreditation visit and we are unable to conduct it.
As a College, our priority is the care of patients and the support of our Fellows, Trainees, International Medical Graduates (IMGs) and the wider healthcare systems in which they work. We recognise the vital role health services will play in response to COVID-19 and the impact this pandemic will have on healthcare service delivery.
Flexibility in these unprecedented times is going to be essential and suspending all travel for accreditation visits minimises the risk of transmission between hospitals and health care professionals. We will also not conduct desk-based accreditation to reduce any additional burden to health services. Where required to ensure the safety and welfare of Trainees, we will consider alternative approaches such as teleconference and paper-based submissions to manage out-of-cycle accreditation visits.
Impact on training
Trainees may be asked to work flexibly and take on additional tasks as health services respond to demand. This may impact on the Surgical Education Training program, creating challenges for teaching, assessment and clinical experience. This may also affect Trainees' ability to meet training requirements, including attendance at mandatory courses and exposure to the required clinical procedures. We support accredited Trainees and Supervisors working with your health service to provide help where it is needed most. We will extend time in training programs and IMG placements by up to 12 months to ensure requirements can be met, as required. This applies to all specialties.
This will be a challenging time for our profession. We want to assure our Trainees, IMGs, Fellows, Specialty Societies and hospitals that we recognise the need for temporary changes to standard practice. We will continue to inform you as decisions related to accreditation and training are made.
We continue to review the situation daily and are following government advice closely. We remain committed to working from the office at this stage and encourage social distancing and good hygiene. It is leading the way in enabling a working from home solution for staff in the event we are required to. We remain vigilant and ready to adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances.
In addition to the COVID-19 information hub we have set-up on our website, we have the following resources that have been forwarded by Fellows:
- COVID-19 Identifying the symptoms (source: Australian Health Department)
- Patient alert notice (source: RACGP)