Supporting the COVID-19 response for ARCPs - a message for trainees and supervisors

The General Medical Council (GMC) has approved an extension to the derogations put in place last year, and these will remain while disruption to training continues. Our VP for Training and Assessment, David Evans, introduces these changes.

The prolonged nature of the COVID-19 pandemic threatens training progression, and this challenge needs to be tackled in a coordinated manner by those responsible for the organisation and delivery of medical education and training. To support doctors in training, changes in guidance introduced to the ARCP process back in April 2020 are being retained.

It is important to note that the only change to guidance is for those trainees going from ST4 to ST5, whilst everything else remains as per guidance last year.

For paediatrics, ST3 trainees may be allowed to progress to level 2 (ST4-5) without MRCPCH if their preparation or attendance has been disrupted by COVID-19. Those who have been affected in this manner can be given an outcome 10.1; they will need to obtain MRCPCH before further progression beyond ST5.

Given the continuing huge challenges that professionals face, the currently agreed, more flexible, arrangements and derogations will now continue until at least September 2021.

Please read our updated guidance on managing ARCPs for this year. This includes the minimum evidence required, guidance on agreed compensatory evidence for middle grade suitability in the absence of MRCPCH and other information relating to these derogations.

As you are aware the Gold Guide defines the structure and function of the ARCP process. In Paragraph 1.12 of the guide, Postgraduate Deans have the discretion to make derogations from the Guide in exceptional circumstances. The Statutory Education Boards consider that COVID-19 meets the criteria for highly exceptional circumstances that would enable Postgraduate Deans, collectively, to agree derogations from the Gold Guide in response to COVID-19.

The aims of the revised ARCP process are to ensure that patient safety remains a primary focus and reduces the burden on trainees, trainers and the health services in the 4 countries during this pandemic, whilst enabling as many trainees as possible to progress in their training at the normal rate.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been recognised that it has often not been possible for trainees and trainers to prepare for and provide the usual evidence for ARCPs as defined in the Gold Guide.

For this reason, the College has been approved by the GMC to allow trainees and educational supervisors to provide agreed minimum evidence to enable progress to the next year of training. 

We have also updated trainees about the changes and have recommended that they speak to their Educational Supervisor (ES) in order to ensure all parties are of the same understanding as to their particular position regarding these matters. Should you require further assistance please contact so we can help point you in the right direction or provide further information.

See our full guidance

This message was emailed to all RCPCH members in training.