Update on Level 1 (ST1) paediatric recruitment - 7 January 2021

If you have applied for paediatric training in the UK for 2021, you'll know we made some changes to the recruitment process due to COVID-19. We understand there is current uncertainty, and we want to assure you we are working with Health Education England to agree which plan we are using. You'll be updated by HEE as soon as possible.

Our Officer for Recruitment and Trainee Representative for Recruitment explain more in this letter.

Update, 11 January - Following our meeting with Health Education England on 8 January, we current intend to continue with 'Plan A' as the preferred option for recruitment, which includes virtual interviewing. See our update

To all paediatric ST applicants

Firstly, we want to wish you all a Happy New Year, and, in what continues to be an extraordinary time to be working in the NHS, we hope you are managing to keep well and to keep your spirits in an unbelievably challenging time. We know you will continue to be there for your colleagues and to support them whichever setting you find yourself currently working in.

Importantly, please also remember to find time to look after yourself as well.

This time of year always requires more resolve than usual from us and none more so than at this present time but it is also a time when we look forward to the next stage of the specialty training (ST) recruitment process and welcoming the next generation of paediatricians into the best of all specialties. 

We know that you will all be aware of the changes we have made to the ST recruitment process for 2021 in light of COVID-19 and working with Health Education England (HEE), who manage the National Recruitment process, to ensure we had a Plan B in place should we need a contingency.

We also know that the announcement on Monday (4 January) regarding the latest restrictions will have created some uncertainty at a time you were awaiting information on how to book your Multi Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA). You will hopefully have seen the update from HEE (pdf) about why you did not receive the communications you were supposed to in relation to MSRA. We can assure you that your College has been working with all stakeholders involved in recruitment to work out next steps once we had been given the opportunity to discuss them. However, we know the lack of immediate communication or clarity has added to your frustrations and on behalf of the College we apologise for this. 

Many of you have been asking about whether for paediatric recruitment we will continue with Plan A or switch to Plan B and we can tell you that a meeting with HEE on this will be held on Friday 8 January to discuss further. The College will then have discussions on the decision with the four national Statutory Educational Bodies and communicate the outcome as soon as we can. You will be contacted by HEE with any revised details. 

We know that whatever way we manage the recruitment process this year it will not be the way we usually do this, as we most definitely like to meet our trainees in person; this is a challenge for all specialties. We remain committed to ensure we implement the best recruitment strategy that will allow you to demonstrate your commitment to become paediatricians of the future - and we hope these changes do not put you off from considering a career in paediatrics.

If you do have any concerns please contact the College's Recruitment & Careers team, who will do their best to help you: paediatric.jobs@rcpch.ac.uk, or our colleagues at HEE if you have any procedural queries: paedsNRO@hee.nhs.uk.

We wish you every success in 2021. 

Stay safe and look after each other and yourselves. 

Simon Broughton, Officer for Recruitment
Emma Coombe, Trainee Representative for Recruitment