We are writing to you to give you some guidance related to the Coronavirus outbreak and concerns that may arise in relation to the impact this could have on your training.
You will now be aware that the FOM took the decision to defer the May sitting of the Part One Examination  (together with the Diploma in Occupational Medicine Examinations)  to November this year.
We remain hopeful that the Part 2 MFOM Examination , scheduled for September and October 2020, will take place as planned, and we shall keep you informed with any/all updates. Should the decision have to be taken to postpone this examination also, you will of course be informed.
Please be assured, in terms of both the Part 1 and Part 2 MFOM examinations, that training will accommodate circumstances beyond your control when these are related to COVID-19, including missing exams. The Faculty has discussed with the National School of Occupational Health, who provide the ARCPs for our specialty, that progression in training that is dependent on exam outcome and success will not automatically be halted, but will now be based on evidence of competence and capability, with the proviso that the exam is successfully completed at the next available sitting, although extension of training may be an option.
During this pandemic, it is recognised that there may not be the resources to deliver ARCPs for every trainee. Therefore, it has been proposed by Health Education England (HEE) that ARCPs for Trainees who are at a critical progression point, such as those listed below, should be prioritised.
- progress dependent on success at professional examination
- approaching completion of specialty training programme
- those where development of specific capabilities or inadequate progress has already been identified
Although the ARCPs taking place this year may be in a different format, (more details on this to follow), they will continue to be held to the same standards outlined in the Gold Guide 8th Edition .
The purpose of all this year’s ARCPs will remain the same, which is to review the evidence presented by the Trainee and their Educational Supervisor (ES), assess whether the Trainee is gaining capabilities at an appropriate rate and decide if the Trainee is able to progress in their training and/or complete their training.
Nevertheless, it has been acknowledged that as a result of the current situation, it may not be possible, or even ideal, for Trainees and Trainers to prepare for and provide the usual evidence for ARCPs.
As described in paragraph 1.12 of the Guide, Postgraduate Deans have the discretion to make derogations in exceptional circumstances.
As such, the Statutory Education Bodies have requested that Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties:
- define the minimum data set, compatible with maintaining patient safety, for each specialty for each year of training to inform when a trainee can progress;
- provide guidance for ARCP panels in the form of a Gold Guide 8-compliant decision aid describing acceptable compensatory evidence (with examples) that ARCP panels could consider where normal evidence is not available due to the current situation;
- provide clear specialty-specific criteria for non-progression.
The Educational Supervisors’ Report (ESR) will be the key document in the minimum data set. This will focus on the capabilities demonstrated by the trainee in the review period, including relevant experience during Covid-19 which might contribute to acquisition of the Generic Professional Capabilities (GPC) required in curricula. In addition, the ESR should state whether there are significant issues and whether these were present pre-Covid-19, occurred as a result of Covid-19 and/or whether Covid-19 has contributed to them. If the Educational Supervisor is unavailable, an alternative medical educator with knowledge of the trainee (eg Programme Director) could complete the ESR.
We are currently in the process of finalising details relating to the above, but as soon as they have been agreed, they will be communicated to you and posted on the Latest News and Current Trainees sections of our website.
In the meantime, please be assured that we are monitoring the situation closely and working to minimise any impact that the COVID – 19 pandemic might have on your training.
The Faculty of Occupational Medicine