COVID-19 and training - a message from the VP for Training and Assessment

"Life has changed, quite suddenly. Uncertainty feeds anxiety and I don’t think anybody can deny feeling overwhelmed at times by the COVID-19 pandemic." David reminds trainees that our priority as a College is to protect you, and notes that more detailed guidance is coming soon.

Virtually all College activity has switched to dealing with COVID-19. There is a huge amount to do. One of the main reasons for this blog is to say that we still have our trainees very much in the forefront of our minds.

What follows is my single most important message concerning your training.

Do not worry about your training

The reality is that all of us have more pressing things to consider at the moment. If you are like me, you are possibly worried about how sick you might be if get COVID-19, will there be enough PPE (personal protection equipment), will you know how to use it, how will you cope with added demands of short staffing, will you be asked to look after adults, can you keep your family safe, what about your elderly relatives, who will look after your children, can you get food - where can you find toilet roll?

We have been relatively quiet about how we are going to solve the training issues caused by our inability to run exams and assessments, changes to rotations, cancellation of teaching, etc. This is because our first priority is protecting you and in truth, we don’t yet have the answers to the training issues.

We have been busy writing and synthesising evidence, collaborating, writing guidance, constantly reminding the NHS and public health bodies that children will play an important part in this epidemic, and their needs and the needs of health care workers looking after them must also be considered.

I am looking forward to the day when we can turn our attention fully to solving some of the training fallout from this epidemic. My starting point has always been that good trainees should never be penalised if they are unable to complete a mandatory element of training through no fault of their own. We have started considering all alternatives and we will work with Heads of Schools to ensure trainees’ progression is not hindered unnecessarily. This will require us to work with the GMC (General Medical Council) and four-nation statutory education bodies (Health Education England, etc.). There is strength in numbers; all specialties are affected.

I am trying to produce some more information about specific issues, such as the cancellation of the April START assessment. I am hoping to get this out next week. I would be keen to hear of individual circumstances not covered by this information; please email me or the Training Services team on; I am really pushed for time but I will always read your email and will do my best to act on what you have said.

In the meantime, keep safe and please do not worry about your training.

David has now provided guidance on trainee progression during this period. We also have information for trainees on continuing to develop capabilities around the curriculum and the postponement of examinations.