Update on 2021 paediatric recruitment

Due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19, much of the detail around 2021 recruitment is still being finalised, but we understand that the processes are due to be signed off by the Medical & Dental Recruitment and Selection (MDRS) committee on 8 October 2020.

Following this decision, and as soon as we have clarification as to the final details of how paediatric recruitment for 2021 will work, we will endeavour to get all the information posted on the College website but cannot currently confirm the specific elements that will be included. We are very aware that this uncertainty is likely to be quite unsettling for those looking to make their specialty applications later this year but would like to reassure our future trainees that we are working hard with the recruitment team at the Paediatric National Recruitment Office (PaedsNRO) to come up with a process that allows us to focus on assessing the areas that we have always felt are most important in selecting our future paediatric trainees, such as career motivation and understanding of the specialty and what it takes to be successful in paediatrics.

The delays and uncertainty are unfortunately affecting all specialties currently taking part in this process. The respective responsible bodies are working with the MDRS and their lead recruitment providers to confirm both a preferred process and also a clear back-up plan that can be laid out clearly in advance, so applicants are fully aware how things may change should pressures on clinician time become so stretched that it is not even possible to run remote interviews.

We do know that some things just can’t be the same in the current climate and one of the major changes will be that there will be no face-to-face interviews throughout National Medical Recruitment in 2021. However, we very much aim to ensure that a virtual interview is part of our process to allow our applicants to show us that they are the right people for the specialty in the best and most personal way possible. In order to allow for all eventualities, even the chance that a virtual interview may not be possible, the process is likely to include a more varied set of components than previously. One of which is the Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA) that is already used by many specialties and is being considered by many more for 2021. While we recognise that a computer-based test would not be our first choice for recruiting into paediatrics, it is important that applicants are afforded the chance to demonstrate a range of relevant skills and in the absence of alternative methods, the MSRA will allow for this, whilst also ensuring our back-up plan will allow applicants to be assessed across more than just a written application, which does not provide such detail in particular around clinical thinking skills. 

We understand that applications for ST1 will provisionally be opening on 4 November 2020, so the College Recruitment team are starting to plan a series of webinars and guidance to be released from the middle of October, outlining how the process will work. Do also keep an eye on both the RCPCH website and our social media channels over the next few weeks as well and contact the team if you would like any more information or guidance.