Fellowship key to top ortho jobs

NEARLY all orthopaedic trainees have undertaken at least one fellowship to help them land a coveted consultant’s post, a new survey has shown.

An overwhelming 96 per cent of doctors had completed a fellowship, with most having completed one (42 per cent) or two (41 per cent) and 11 per cent having done three or more. Only six per cent had not done a fellowship.

The British Orthopaedics Trainees Association survey of 176 senior trainees reported there are currently more qualified trauma and orthopaedic surgeons than consultant posts. It found that gaining experience on a fellowship was a key factor in career progression.

Applicants applying for a consultant post ranked fellowship experience as the most important aspect of their CV, above operative experience, research and subspecialty qualifications.

Orthopaedics and trauma is a highly competitive specialty with consultant jobs diminishing in recent years. The total number of consultant positions expected to be advertised in 2012 is 160, compared to 144 in 2010 and 164 in 2009. The researchers blamed the decrease on NHS reconfiguration.

Tim Briggs, vice president elect of the British Orthopaedic Association, told BMJ Careers he expects that doing a fellowship will become more and more important. “The best of the best will gain these transitional fellowships which will help them in getting the consultant job that they want,” he said. “Fellowships will enhance surgical skills and develop the managerial side of what you need in consultant practice.”