From Sarah Kaufmann - Education Development Time in Emergency Medicine

Fri, 14th May 2021

Dear All

Protected time for trainee development was introduced into the new RCEM curriculum being implemented from August 2021. Initially called “SPA time” it was renamed earlier this year to “Educational Development Time” to reflect the broader, more clinical focus of these sessions. I have attached the relevant section from the curriculum which still calls it SPA but gives greater detail. I would like to highlight some key principles

  • This is a recommendation
  • It is a controlled process, with a described governance process through their ES/CS
  • The expectation is that these will be mainly for clinical competencies mostly within the Emergency Department (ED)
  • Given the breadth of the EM curriculum it does give the opportunity to gain experience to meet their PDP, outside the ED
  • It tilts the emphasis of the trainees’ session from service to training to meet the requirements of their curriculum
  • It enables trainees to meet their PDP objectives, facilitating them acting as adult learners, taking control and organising their own development 

It is not for trainee CPD, and is not the same as the old “half day for audit. It is not supposed to be just scheduled automatically week in week out by rota co-ordinators as it is agreed with the ES/CS for described and documented PDP and curricular objectives, the majority of which are clinical and within the ED. Managed like this it can be seen how this could be used to deliver the specialty curriculum, GPC framework and prepare a trainee for managing their ongoing development in a consultant role. 

However with some flexibility now, it could be used in personalised training plans for training recovery, particularly in areas we know have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic eg Minor Injuries and Paediatric EM, and if possible IAC. That was the objective of a letter that was sent to Clinical Directors (and Heads of School) recently, attached. Unfortunately this letter seems to have caused some anxieties about service delivery and the equitable use of time by trainees, not just in EM but in all specialties. It is clear that we didn’t adequately explain the concept of EDT so there was a misconception that it was automatic, for CPD and analogous to and even more generous than the “half day for audit”, for which I apologise. 

I hope that this explanation enables you to support the concept and implementation and gives you the information to field any queries. I’ve asked RCEM to ensure that their trainers are equally familiar with the concept of EDT.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.

Best wishes


Sarah Kaufmann
Deputy Postgraduate Dean

Health Education England, working across Yorkshire and the Humber
Willow Terrace Road | University of Leeds | Leeds | LS2 9JT07480 068441