The Faculty of Occupational Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians of London was established “to develop and maintain the good practice of occupational medicine with a view to providing for the protection of people at work by ensuring the highest professional standards of competence and ethical integrity.”
The Diploma in Occupational Medicine is designed for medical practitioners who are working part- time in the practice of occupational medicine or who have an interest in occupational medicine as it affects other branches of medicine.
It is established to demonstrate that the holder has achieved a level of competence appropriate to the generalist working in occupational health. It is quite separate from other qualifications of the Faculty and is not part of the al training route to Membership or entry onto the specialist register of the General Medical Council of the UK.
D1. Candidates for the Diploma are required EITHER
(a) to provide evidence of full or limited registration with the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom
(b) to possess a medical qualification acceptable to the Director of Assessment of the Faculty. These candidates must produce their original medical registration certificates, or diplomas of medical qualification, and official translation of their diplomas if not in English
D2. Candidates are also required to provide evidence of having completed a Faculty approved Diploma Training Course by the date of the examination. Candidates must provide a copy of their certificate of successful completion of such a course. Where the course will not be completed until after the closing date for applications, candidates may be granted provisional eligibility pending evidence of successful completion of the course.
D3. The examination is in two parts. Candidates are required to pass
(a) a multiple choice examination paper
(b) a portfolio assessment and an oral examination based on that portfolio
D4. Candidates can, if they wish, sit the two parts at the same time. Candidates must pass both parts within five years; if more than five years has elapsed between parts, both parts must be retaken to achieve the Diploma. The written portfolio must be based on the candidate’s personal practical experience in the field of occupational health. Each sitting of the second part of the examination requires the submission of a new portfolio.
D5. Applications for admission to the examination must be made by the advertised closing date and submitted via The Faculty’s online application system. The appropriate number of copies of portfolios must be submitted with the application forms no later than the closing date. All applications must be accompanied by the appropriate examination fee (see General Faculty Examination Regulations). Details of times and places of examinations will be available to candidates well before the due dates.
D6. The multiple choice examination paper is usually held in one centre at least once each year. Guidance on the form of the multiple choice examination can be found in the Guidance Notes in this booklet.
D7. The portfolio assessment/oral examinations are held in one or more centres at least once each year.
D8. The portfolio should be in the form of two written reports. One report should be based on a visit to, and assessment of, a workplace and one report should be based on a clinical case seen and examined by the candidate. The reports should demonstrate that the candidate is able to apply the principles of occupational health and safety in practice. Guidance on the form of the portfolio of written evidence can be found in the Guidance Notes in this booklet. The entire portfolio should be 1500 – 2000 words in length.
D9. Two examiners, who will subsequently conduct an oral examination of the same candidate, will assess the portfolio. Candidates are required to pass the oral examination and achieve an aggregate of 50% or more for the portfolio and oral combined.
D10. Candidates who have successfully completed the requirements specified in D3 will be awarded the Diploma in Occupational Medicine on payment of a fee. Holders of the Diploma may use the postnominals DOccMed. This qualification is not registrable with the General Medical Council.
D11. Any further advice on the Regulations may be obtained by writing to the Chief Examiner.
1. The Faculty of Occupational Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians of London introduced this qualification in 1994 for doctors who wish to demonstrate a level of proficiency in occupational medicine appropriate to the practice of a generalist.
2. Regulations governing the Diploma in Occupational Medicine (DOccMed) have been published by the Faculty. It is the responsibility of candidates to ensure that they obtain the latest edition of the Regulations. These notes do not form part of the Regulations but are intended to provide guidance for candidates and those running courses to prepare candidates for this qualification.
3. This qualification is intended to meet the needs of registered medical practitioners who wish to demonstrate by a combination of training, examination and practical evidence, a level of knowledge and competence in occupational medicine consistent with the practice of a generalist.
4. The Diploma is not appropriate to those seeking to practice as specialist occupational physicians, nor is it part of the route to other Faculty qualifications.
5. The qualification reflects the satisfactory completion of three main elements: training, multiple choice examination paper and portfolio assessment/oral defence.
6. A number of institutions offer Diploma Training Courses covering the core syllabus. These courses may be full time, part time or by distance learning. The core syllabus covers the basic topics necessary to understand the principles and practice of occupational medicine and is given in Annex B.
7. Diploma courses are approved on behalf of the Faculty by the Director of Assessment to whom applications must be made in writing at least six weeks before the course is due to start. Approval is valid for one year only and it is the responsibility of Training Centres to reapply for approval.
8. The Diploma core syllabus requires a minimum of 55 hours direct training as detailed in Annex B. To reach the required standard, candidates need to undertake further private study. This study includes reading appropriate books and journals, attendance at professional meetings such as those organised by the Society of Occupational Medicine and visits to workplaces. It is impossible to give a precise indication of the amount of time candidates should give to private study but it is likely to be of the order of two to three hours per week over six months. Those providing Diploma Training Courses should include advice about further study in their teaching.
9. Successful completion of a Faculty approved Diploma Training Course is mandatory. It is required for confirmation of completion of training, that candidates should attend at least 90% of the course, or other confirmation as approved by the Faculty.
10. The purpose of this part of the examination is to test factual knowledge to the standard appropriate to a generalist.
11. The examination paper consists of single statements or stems with up to five statements. Questions may be asked on any part of the core syllabus. The minimum number of responses that will be required is 50. Additional questions may be included for trial purposes and will not be used when calculating scores; candidates should be aware that these questions may appear anywhere on the paper.
12. Answers should be recorded on the machine-readable sheet provided. Candidates are required to choose the best possible fit (BPF) answer for each statement by blacking out the lozenge for the chosen answer at the corresponding number for that statement on the answer sheet. Only one answer per question may be chosen. The answer sheet may contain spaces for more answers than will be required for the examination.
13. A negative marking scheme will not be used.
14. The multiple choice examination assesses a candidate’s performance in relation to an external standard set by the examiners. As a result, the pass mark and pass rate may vary slightly at each examination. This occurs because there are differences in the degree of difficulty of the examination.
15. Candidates must apply to sit the examination on the Faculty’s generic application form. Applications which arrive after the closing date will not be accepted. The application form together with information on the dates, venues and fees for the first part of the examination can be obtained from the DOccMed page of the Faculty website. Applications must be accompanied by a copy of the certificate of successful completion of a Diploma Training Course. The examination is held in London and may be held in other locations in the UK.
16. This part of the examination allows candidates to demonstrate their competence in a practical setting. Training courses should provide instruction for this element of the Diploma in the Practical Module (see Annex B). Preparation of the portfolio may commence at any time.
17. Candidates must pass both the multiple choice examination paper and the portfolio assessment and oral examination within five years; if more than five years has elapsed between parts, both parts must be taken to achieve the diploma.
18. The portfolio must comprise two separate sections presenting occupational health problems, one a clinical case and the other a workplace assessment. The clinical case must have been seen and examined personally by the candidate and should demonstrate an understanding of the principles of occupational medicine. The workplace assessment should demonstrate the process of hazard identification, risk reduction and continuing surveillance, including application of the relevant legislation. The portfolio must be submitted using the template at Annex C, which contains further guidance on the content, length and layout. An electronic version can be downloaded from the Faculty website. For those candidates without Internet access, a blank form can be obtained from the Faculty office on which the portfolio must be typed.
19. An important part of the practice of occupational medicine is good, clear and authoritative written communication with employers and medical colleagues and the portfolio provides a good opportunity to demonstrate these skills. As the portfolio is not produced under examination conditions, it is expected that it will be well structured and professionally presented. It is assumed that candidates have access to basic word processing resources and marks may be deducted for poor presentation.
20. Each portfolio is assessed by two examiners. Each examiner will question the candidate for 10 minutes, exploring in more depth the content of the portfolio and assessing the candidate’s understanding of closely related issues. Candidates should be able to demonstrate that they have personally undertaken the work described in the portfolio and that they can defend any statements made and, if necessary, defend any omissions. Examiners are seeking evidence that the candidate has understood the principles of occupational medicine and can apply them in practice. Half the marks are allocated for the written work and half the marks are allocated for the oral examination conducted by the same examiners. Candidates are required to achieve a mark of at least 50% in the oral examination and obtain an overall mark of at least 50%.
21. Candidates must apply to sit the examination on the Faculty’s generic application form. Applications which arrive after the closing date will not be accepted. Candidates are sent information on the dates, venues and fees for the second part of the Diploma upon passing the multiple choice examination. The examination is held in one or more locations in the UK.
1. This template is designed to provide guidance to candidates in the preparation of the Diploma in Occupational Medicine Portfolio.
2. The text boxes give an indication of the relative emphasis that should be given to each section and show the number of marks available. Although all elements will not be present in each example in equal measure, careful selection of clinical cases and workplaces is necessary to ensure that the full range of issues is covered, including a sufficient length of involvement with individual cases. The only absolute limit is on the total number of words, which must not exceed 2000. The minimum expected is 1500 words. N.B. The notes are for general guidance. It is not sufficient simply to answer the questions posed.
3. A word count should be entered in the space provided at the end. This can be done automatically in Microsoft Word from the Tools/Word count or a manual count can be entered in the space provided. Only the first 2000 words of the portfolio will be marked.
4. Text may be entered directly into the boxes or pasted from another document. Font size 10 or 12 should be used, with lines singly spaced. A narrative style should be employed in preference to lists or bullet points. A short relevant bibliography or references should be included in the final box, which is not included in the word count.
5. Relevant photographs, illustrations, plans, tables, etc. may be included by adding additional pages as an appendix to the Portfolio. They should be clearly numbered and labelled, and referred to at the appropriate point in the text.
6. The printed portfolio should have a simple, lightweight binding; four (revised March 2006) copies must be submitted to the Faculty office.
A Word document template portfolio is available at here.