Industrial action FAQs

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below in relation to possible industrial action.

We recognise that the proposed industrial action will raise a number of questions for you, particularly regarding the continuity of your training and support throughout the period of industrial action. We have prepared the FAQs below and also encourage you to read Health Education England's guidance on industrial action and management of Doctors in Postgraduate Training. Should you have any further questions after reading through this information , please do not hesitate to contact us at or speak to your Educational Supervisor for direct support.

As a College we are committed to the education and wellbeing of our members to help you thrive throughout a lifelong career. A period of industrial action can be an unsettling time, both in terms of additional work pressures and concerns about staffing levels as well as missed training opportunities such as cancelled clinics and concerns regarding your own progression and how to keep up to date in training. We hope that the information below along with the support of your local training provider and educational supervisor will help to navigate this uncertain time.

Deciding whether to take part in the industrial action is a difficult decision for any psychiatrist to make. But we are confident that our trainees will make this choice with careful consideration, working alongside our psychiatric consultants and SAS doctors, to balance the potential risks to patient care and service provision, alongside their own wellbeing. We encourage all our members to respect this individual choice and emphasise that it does not affect a person’s commitment to their training or the profession.

Throughout any industrial action, we encourage you to ensure you follow the principles of the GMC guidance, good medical practice. We recommend reviewing the GMC position on industrial action to make sure you are using your professional judgement to assess risk and deliver the best possible care for people, when facing potentially challenging situations during industrial action. At all times, you should only act within the limits of your competence and your senior colleagues, consultants and/or managers should be available to speak with if you have any questions or concerns.

Your continuing professional development is ongoing and the best way to manage your portfolio is to maintain it regularly. We recommend using the quieter periods to progress with assessments and portfolio updates and plan ahead for the industrial action days. Think about what you might miss and how this might be rearranged or planned for differently to achieve the competencies you require to meet the curriculum.
Busy times can bring plenty of learning and development opportunities, however, there may not always be time for full reflections/formal assessments. We suggest avoiding leaving note recording to the last minute – consider writing brief notes after a shift and return to them later to record full reflections. 
In their 2012 position statement, the GMC outline that within each 12 month period where a trainee has been absent for a total of 14 days or more (when a trainee would normally be at work), this will trigger a review of whether the trainee needs to have their CCT date extended. Make sure you keep track of the time you have taken out of training to be able to discuss with your Educational Supervisor and at your ARCP panel. 
Some specific and formal training opportunities may have to be deferred during times of service disruption whether that is due to industrial action or unusual service pressures. This may be unavoidable to maintain patient safety, and we know that training often needs flexibility; however, we would expect training units and schools to facilitate catch up of any outstanding training once things settle down. This might include prioritising clinic attendance or re-scheduling clinical commitments to take the opportunity to acquire specific technical capabilities. Please talk to your supervisor and/or Training Programme Director (TPD) if you feel your training has been affected.
Trainees should continue to exception report for missed training opportunities, even when this is unavoidable due to exceptional service pressures. This helps departments to evidence training and service gaps and work towards solutions.
It is important to look after yourself during periods of industrial action. Visit the NHS employers website for key information and resources to support yourself and colleagues during periods of industrial action. The Royal College of Psychiatrists also has a range of resources on our Workforce Wellbeing Hub including our confidential peer support service – the Psychiatrists’ Support Service, which has a range of help sheets that you can review. You can also contact the service via or give us a call on 020 8618 4020 during 9-5pm and we can put you in contact with a peer support psychiatrist who may be able to help you. 
The AoMRC have put together a list of charities and organisations that provide support to clinicians in need of financial support. 

It is an individual’s choice whether to take part in industrial action. All the guidance above is relevant to any psychiatrist in training or undertaking the CESR pathway.

We recommend viewing the BMA guidance on striking as an IMG, which provides information about the potential impact of industrial action, unauthorised absences, reduction in pay and indefinite leave to remain (ILR). 

If you have any concerns or questions around your training as an IMG or what support we can offer you, please visit our dedicated International Medical Graduate webpages. If you have questions about your visa, please speak to your employer or the organisations listed on our website for further support. You can also contact the Psychiatrists’ Support Service for further help and support.

The BMA have advised that you are able to do the exam on the day of action and take part in industrial action around that. It is possible for your employer to cancel your leave, with any required notice under your contract. If your leave is cancelled, you will still be able to take industrial action and use the time to attend the exam.

The BMA have also advised that you will likely lose a day of pay but you will still be able to take the day for industrial action and take your exam.

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