Introduction UK gastroenterology training programmes have undergone significant changes over recent years. Currently, little is known about the impact this may have had upon trainees' research experience. This study evaluates research trends among gastroenterology trainees over a 15-year period by assessing publication rates and number of higher degrees attained by trainees at the time they are appointed to NHS consultant posts.
Methods All consultant appointments and their previous place of training were identified between February 1993 and December 2008 (courtesy of the BSG). The number and type of publications of each consultant was collected using PubMed & Embase databases. An 18-month lag time was allowed post consultant appointment to allow for potential time delays between submission and publication. The consultant name was then either; matched with their entry in the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) handbook, medical directory or an individuals' department contacted and higher degree noted. Consultant appointment to either teaching hospital (TH) or district general hospital (DGH) was collected and data analysed using Microsoft Excel.
Results Over the 15-year period, 825 consultant appointments were made. We excluded consultant-to-consultant transfers and appointments to or from academic posts (n=126). Also excluded were trainees who had subsequently left the UK or the medical register (n=146). Of the 553 appointments, 267 (48%) were appointed to TH posts and 45% (249/553) were appointed to posts within the region they trained. There is a significant decreasing trend in the median number of publications by gastroenterology trainees' prior to their NHS consultant appointment from 19 in 1993 to four in 2008, correlation co-efficient R2=0.81 (r=−0.90, df=14, p=<0.001, Abstract OC-137 figure 1). Mean publication rates of consultants appointed to TH's posts (10.1, n=267) were higher than DGH consultants (7.37, n=286) (p=0.0012), with differences also seen when comparing higher degrees of TH consultants with DGH consultants (53.2% vs 22.1%, p=0.017).
Conclusion This study demonstrates a significant decreasing trend in the number of publications obtained by a gastroenterology trainee at time of their appointment to an NHS consultant post. This could act as a tool in assessing academic activity among trainees. Our data would support interventions to promote academic training in postgraduate training programmes.
Competing interests None declared.