Extra trainee clinical oncologist posts in Wales announced

Wednesday 9 December 2020

The RCR has strongly welcomed news that clinical oncology trainee placements in Wales are set to increase by four posts per year from 2021.

Earlier this week (December 7), the Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething announced his government would invest an extra £9.1m for training healthcare professionals across Wales over the next year, which includes an additional £2.3m for medical training places.

The NHS Wales Education Commissioning and Training Plan for 2021/22 that accompanies the funding announcement recommends Higher Training posts for clinical oncology are boosted by four per year until 2026. 

NHS Wales also plans to invest in three new medical oncology trainee posts per year over the same period, as well as funding four new posts for cancer allied health professionals next year.

The training plan also states that clinical radiology placements will be maintained at the current intake of 20 trainees per year over the next five years.     

Commenting on the announcement, Secretary of the RCR’s Standing Welsh Committee and Cardiff-based clinical oncologist Dr Seema Arif said:

“Extra funding to increase the number of trainee clinical oncologists in Wales is fantastic news for the specialty and hugely welcome.

“The RCR has routinely highlighted the desperate need for more trainees and campaigned for greater investment. Our most recent workforce census, published earlier this year, showed that without more training places the number of clinical oncologists in the country was set to shrink by 2024.

“The announcement will come as a huge relief for tired clinical oncology teams, who were stretched going into the pandemic and have worked hard throughout 2020 to maintain radio- and chemotherapy services.

“It is however disappointing to note no apparent trainee increase in palliative medicine, another short-staffed specialty and one in which proper provision is absolutely vital to ensure the safety and comfort of patients entering the last phase of their cancer journey.

“If translated into new registrars, the plans to add four additional clinical oncology training places each year effectively doubles Wales’ recent trainee numbers. This really is a substantial increase, which we hope to see bring a meaningful boost to consultant staffing and, ultimately, safeguard and improve non-surgical cancer care for our patients.

“We are also very pleased to see increased investment in medical oncology and the wider cancer team, and look forward to continuing to work with providers and training leads as the training scheme expands.”