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MFOM Part 2 – Regulations & Guidance

INTRODUCTION

Membership of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (MFOM) is intended for registered medical practitioners who are committed to the full-time or part-time practice of occupational medicine, and confers formal recognition of competence. It is the highest level of Specialist professional qualification in Occupational Medicine recognised by assessment by the FOM and its syllabus is detailed under the general regulation & guidance page.

It is a normal requirement for those who aspire to being on the Specialist Register as Accredited Specialists in Occupational Medicine in the UK and will be awarded to those who have completed the requisite Higher Professional Training, together with MFOM Part 1 and MFOM Part 2 examinations, and demonstrated appropriate competencies through workplace-based assessments and a research dissertation or equivalent evidence.

Membership may also be available to medical practitioners outwith UK Specialist Training. Successful candidates will normally have completed satisfactorily a prescribed period of supervised training in one or more approved posts and have met the requirements of the curriculum, completed the appropriate Faculty Examinations and met any requirements of the General Medical Council.

These regulations and guidance give further detail related solely to the MFOM Part 2 examination.

ELIGIBILITY

P1.
Regulation
Normally, before applying to sit the Part 2 examination a candidate must fulfil the eligibility requirements M34 to M37:

 

M34.
Regulation
Before applying to sit the MFOM Part 2 examination a candidate must have passed their MFOM Part 1 examination. See Regulation M9 (MFOM Part 1 Regulations) for conditional exemptions. Doctors who enter the GMC Specialist Register under the European Union (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2015, as amended by the Recognition of Professional Qualifications (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 are exempt from the MFOM Part 1 examination.

 

M35.
Regulation
If enrolled in an approved post or programme recognised for higher specialist training in occupational medicine in the UK, the candidate must also provide evidence, following local Annual Review of Competency Progression (ARCP) panel review, of having achieved the end competencies of ST4 training. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis for candidates who are expecting to achieve ST4 requirements whose ARCP date falls shortly after the deadline for examination application.  Candidates must also have paid all relevant subscription fees.

 

M35.
Guidance
The competencies referred to are those defined in the approved Curriculum for Higher Specialist Training in Occupational Medicine, and elaborated with guidance in the Specialty Training Handbook. Candidates must normally submit the evidence referred to in Regulation M6 (MFOM Part 1 Regulations) with their examination application. Exceptionally, and at its own discretion, the Faculty may accept later submission of this evidence; but in all circumstances it must be received before the date of the examination.

 

M36.
Regulation
If not enrolled in an approved post or programme of specialist training in the UK, the candidate must also provide evidence of at least 4 years of full-time practical experience or training in occupational medicine (or the equivalent pro-rata) in a post or posts acceptable to the Faculty.

 

M36.
Guidance
Among other things, the Faculty’s Specialty Advisory Committee (SAC) will normally seek evidence of:

(i) a sufficient breadth, as well as a sufficient duration of experience in occupational medicine (across a range of settings and covering a range of occupational health problems of a kind encountered in specialist training or practice); and

(ii) structured employment involving the support and, ideally, the formal supervision of a senior occupational physician of consultant status. Normally the applicant will need to hold such a post for at least 6 months within the 12 months prior to their application to be eligible to sit the MFOM Part 2 examination; the practice of occupational medicine must be a substantial component of their work.

(iii) proof of equivalent practical experience and/or training outwith UK specialist training (M37) must be received at least 4 months before the Part 2 examination date, so that the SAC has an adequate period in which to assess eligibility under M37.

 

EXEMPTIONS

M37.
Regulation
Candidates who have passed the AFOM examination in its entirety will be exempted both the MFOM Part 1 and MFOM Part 2 examinations, provided that the date on which they sat and passed the AFOM is not more than seven years before (a) their enrolment (or re-entry) into an approved post or programme recognised for higher specialist training in occupational medicine in the UK (b) if not enrolled in higher specialist training, their application for Membership.

View regulations and guidance M38 – M39

 

COMPONENTS OF ASSESSMENT

P2.
Regulation
The Part 2 MFOM examination will comprise the following sections:

1. Written Multiple Choice Question Paper (MCQ)

2. Written Modified Essay (Structured Short Answer) Paper (MEQ)

3. An Observed Structured Practical Examination (OSPE)
4. Written Photographic/occupational hygiene paper

All four sections are compulsory

 

P3.
Regulation
The MFOM Part 2 written examinations are normally held over two days. The OSPE will be held on another day, normally about a month later, and may be at one or more centres.

 

THE EXAMINATION SYLLABUS

P4.
Regulation
The syllabus for the MFOM Part 2 examination will be based on the requirements for higher specialist training in Occupational Medicine in the United Kingdom (UK), as defined in the latest version of the Faculty’s GMC-approved specialist training curriculum.

 

P5.
Regulation
Questions may be asked on any part of the syllabus. Collectively, the four component sections of assessment will aim to sample systematically from the curriculum across examination sittings.

 

THE PASS STANDARD

P6.
Regulation
A candidate’s performance in each section will be assessed relative to an external standard set by the examiners. Raw marks may be adjusted to preserve a common standard between examinations.

 

P7.
Regulation
Candidates will be required to pass all four of the sections listed in Regulation P2. A pass in one or more sections will be banked so that only the unsuccessful sections need be retaken. Banked sections cannot be retaken.

 

P8.
Regulation
Candidates are normally allowed up to a maximum of six attempts at the MFOM Part 2. However, Regulation F3 makes provision for the Faculty’s Specialist Advisory Committee (SAC) to consider a candidate’s eligibility to make a further attempt or attempts, subject to acceptable evidence of additional education experience.

 

An ‘attempt’ is defined as the sitting of an exam component or components in a single examination diet. For example, a candidate sitting all 4 components in one diet has made one ‘attempt.’ If that candidate fails components 2 and 4, they bank their passes from components 1 and 3. They will be entered for components 2 and 4 when they next apply, which will count as their second attempt.

 

The application fee remains the same, irrespective of how many exam components a candidate is entered for.

 

MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS (MCQ) PAPER

P9.
Regulation
This 2-hour examination paper will comprise of 120 questions in the format of single statements or stems with up to five completions, or related responses. Normally, questions will be in the ‘single best answer’ format – i.e. candidates will be required to choose from the alternatives the most appropriate or fitted response.

 

P10.
Regulation
The 120 question MCQ paper may include up to 20 pilot questions for standard setting purposes. (These items, which may appear anywhere in the paper, will not be used when calculating candidates’ scores).

 

P11.
Regulation
The MCQ paper is now conducted as an online exam. All questions are compulsory. A negative marking scheme will not be employed.

 

MODIFIED ESSAY QUESTION (STRUCTURED SHORT ANSWER) (MEQ) PAPER

P12.
Regulation
This 3-hour examination paper will comprise approximately 10 written essay questions, most of which will be highly structured with multiple parts or subcomponents. Each question is worth 10 marks. All questions are compulsory. The MEQ paper is now conducted as an online exam.

 

OBSERVED STRUCTURED PRACTICAL EXAMINATION (OSPE)

P13.
Regulation
The Observed Structured Practical Examination will comprise 6 assessment stations – (a) two 30-minute stations based on long clinical cases (patients and/or role play actors); (b) four 10-minute stations based on short clinical cases (usually, patients with clinical physical signs). All stations are compulsory. General guidance on the OSPE (see below) is for illustrative purposes only; the exact content of questions and administrative arrangements may vary.

 

PHOTOGRAPHIC/OCCUPATIONAL HYGIENE PAPER

P14.
Regulation
This 50-minute paper is based on 2 sections, comprising (a) photographic illustrations and (b) materials relevant to occupational hygiene.

 

APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION; COMMUNICATION OF RESULTS

P15.
Regulation
Applications for admission to the MFOM Part 2 must be made by the advertised closing date and submitted via The Faculty’s online application system, together with such other evidence as the form dictates to confirm eligibility under Regulation A1. All applications must be accompanied by the appropriate examination fee (see General Regulations & Guidance). Details of times and places of examinations will be available to candidates well before the due dates.

 

P16.
Regulation
Results of the examinations will be communicated to the candidates in writing as soon as is practicable. In no circumstances will results be given by telephone.

 

SYLLABUS

The new OMST 2022 curriculum was launched in September 2022. Some trainees will have the option of remaining on the 2017 curriculum, or transferring to the new 2022 curriculum.

The syllabus will be based on that defined by the GMC-approved training curriculum for higher specialist training in Occupational Medicine in the United Kingdom (UK) – i.e. the Specialty Registrar’s training curriculum.

2017 curriculum

Doctors following the 2017 curriculum in specialist training posts and those outwith such programmes may find it helpful to read Section 2.2 of the FOM’s Specialist Training Curriculum for Occupational Medicine.

2022 curriculum

Doctors following the 2022 curriculum in specialist training posts and those outwith such programmes may find it helpful to read the FOM’s OMST 2022 Curriculum Guidance.

By careful selection of examination questions, the examiners will aim to offer a broad coverage of this GMC-approved training curriculum across examination sittings.

COMPONENTS OF THE MFOM PART 2 EXAMINATION

MCQ Paper

The MCQ paper will last for 2 hours and will be conducted online. The paper will contain 120 multiple-choice questions in ‘choose one response from five’ format. This means that in each question candidates will be presented with a stem and five possible answers, from which they must choose the single best answer (only one answer is the best one, although several may be true in part).

The purpose of the MCQ examination is to test factual knowledge to the standard appropriate to a specialist in Occupational Medicine. Thus, candidates can expect to be tested across a wide range of common and important occupational health topics, sampled across the whole syllabus.

All questions are compulsory. 20 pilot questions distributed at random will appear for trialling and/or standard setting purposes will appear in the paper. Responses to them do not count towards a candidate’s final score. They are part of a range of quality assurance measures the Faculty has instituted across its examinations.

 The marking system for the MCQ examination is as follows:

  • One mark (+1) is awarded for each correct answer
  • No mark is deducted for an incorrect answer (a negative marking scheme is not used)
  • No mark is awarded or deducted if a question is left unanswered
  • Candidates should be aware that no mark will be awarded for any answer that is partially erased, smudged, or a double response to a question. In these circumstances the Faculty cannot safely interpret the candidate’s intentions.

The pass mark in the MCQ examination will be assessed relative to an external standard set by the examiners. Raw marks may be adjusted (scaled) to preserve a common standard between examinations.

Some sample MCQs are given for information at the end of this page.

MEQ Paper

The MEQ paper will last for 3 hours and will be conducted online.  The paper will usually comprise 10 MEQ-style questions, completed at a single sitting. Questions will normally be given equal weighting.

Most of the questions will be highly structured and divided into sub-sections, each of which will carry no more than 4 marks. Some questions, however, will be designed to assess the candidate’s ability to analyse, appraise, and write occupational health reports; and these may not be so highly structured. The question sheet will indicate the number of available marks for each subsection.

The purpose of the MEQ examination is to test ability to apply knowledge to clinical practice to the standard appropriate to a specialist in Occupational Medicine. The paper may contain questions from any part of the syllabus.

The pass mark in the MEQ paper will be assessed relative to an external standard set by the examiners. Raw marks may be adjusted (scaled) to preserve a common standard between examinations.

Some sample MEQs are given for information at the end of this page.

OSPE

The OSPE comprises 6 parts that will be held at either the Clinical Skills Centre, Northern General Hospital in Sheffield or another suitable venue. In certain circumstances it may be necessary to conduct the OSPE as a live, online examination.

In all there will be 1 hour 40 minutes of assessment (with a small additional amount of waiting time between some stations), comprising:

  • 2 long (30 minute) clinical stations
  • 4 short (10 minute) clinical stations

The long and short clinical stations will be run/observed by a pair of examiners. Faculty staff members will be present to enforce time limits. At times an auditor (who will be assessing the performance of the examiners, not the candidate) or a trainee examiner may be present but will take no part in the examination. The stations will be run on a circuit and candidates may commence the circuit at any of the long or short clinical stations. Depending on the number of candidates, it may be necessary to run two circuits simultaneously. If so, to standardise the assessments as far as practicable, each station in the two circuits will have broadly similar cases with similar tasks and questions.

In general terms:

Long and short stations

  • The focus at the long stations will be on testing the ability of candidates to take a clinical and occupational history; to discuss the relevance of the clinical findings to occupation; to make an assessment of the occupational health and vocational aspects of the case; and to formulate a suitable action plan. (Candidates may be expected to discuss differential diagnoses and be generally aware of the most common treatments and any relevant occupational implications; but detailed knowledge of treatment regimens is not required.)
  • The focus at the short stations will normally be on the ability to elicit physical signs, correctly interpret them, and discuss their occupational health and clinical consequences.

Further details of each station type are given below. This guidance is for illustrative purposes only. The Faculty reserves the right to vary the content of questioning, within the general framework of 2 long clinical cases and 4 short clinical cases.

Stations A (The mental health case station) and B (The disability case station)

Role players may be used for the mental health and disability patients. (There is evidence that the use of role players for such cases improves consistency.) Specific written instructions will be provided to the candidate prior to commencing the station. Candidates will be expected to spend 20 minutes taking an appropriate clinical and occupational history and developing a management plan for the patient. (In the mental health there will also be an expectation, normally, that candidates make a diagnosis; however, such information may be provided for the disability case.) A pair of examiners will observe the candidate’s ability to communicate with the patient and will assess the content of the consultation. During the final 10 minutes the examiners will question the candidate in regard to clinical, ethical and employment issues pertinent to the case in question.

Stations C to F (Short cases 1, 2, 3 and 4)

These stations will each comprise one short case of 10 minutes. Two examiners will be present at the station. The candidate will be given clear verbal instructions prior to commencing the case. Patients will be drawn from the typical spectrum that an occupational physician could reasonably expect to see in daily practice (e.g. a musculoskeletal, abdominal, neurological, respiratory, cardiac, or dermatological case). Typically, the candidate will be asked to examine the patient and will be expected to elicit and correctly interpret the relevant clinical signs. 6 minutes will be permitted for the physical examination. The candidate will then be asked some questions about the case, focusing particularly on the occupational relevance of the findings to case management. The examiner or pair of examiners will ask all candidates the same or similar questions, and will use a pre-designed marking scheme for each case.

Marking

Of the total 160 OSPE marks, 80 are available for the short cases and 80 are available for the long cases. The pass mark in the OSPE will be assessed relative to an external standard set by the examiners.

Raw marks may be adjusted (scaled) to preserve a common standard between examinations. Candidates’ total marks across all stations, adjusted/scaled as necessary, will be compared with the overall pass mark.

Candidates are not required to pass every station or any particular station. However, they will be required to reach a bare minimum pass standard in certain key competency areas which are not directly tested elsewhere in the Part 1 and Part 2 MFOM examinations. These will include: candidate’s approach to, and communication with, the patient; their capacity to manage the patient’s concerns; and their ability to take a detailed history, conduct a suitable clinical examination, elicit clinical signs and reach an appropriate diagnosis.

Other comments

In preparing for the clinical elements of assessment, candidates for the OSPE may find it advantageous to practise their clinical skills by attending a suitable course or by a short-term attachment to a hospital unit.

Photographic/occupational hygiene paper

This paper comprises two sections and lasts for 50 minutes. This paper may be conducted in-person or as a live, online examination.

In the photographic section, the candidate will be presented with approximately 5 illustrations and, where relevant, a short scenario; he/she will be asked a number of pre-scripted questions by the examiners. The illustrations may relate to the diagnosis, management, and prevention of occupationally-related disease or ill-health.

In the occupational hygiene section of the paper, candidates will be tested on occupational hygiene, and will be presented with scenario(s) in the form of photograph(s) and or diagram(s) showing work processes. They will be presented with approximately 5 illustrations and will be asked a number of pre-scripted questions. 

This station will examine such topics as: knowledge of common work processes/activities and their associated hazards and risks, approaches to conducting workplace risk assessments, interpretation of non-clinical workplace data and the effectiveness of control measures used (in practice) to minimise or prevent exposure. 

The questions will typically be based on a specific workplace process/activity. Candidates may also be required to interpret occupational hygiene and toxicological data, such as may be found in workplace risk assessment reports, or to identify and discuss typical occupational hygiene tools and items of personal protective equipment. Questions may be illustrated by photographs or actual pieces of equipment – e.g. pictures of individuals exposed to physical, chemical, biological or ergonomic hazards; sampling instruments; face masks.

Marking

There are a total of 90 marks available for the photographic/occupational hygiene paper

The pass mark for this paper will be assessed relative to an external standard set by the examiners. Raw marks may be adjusted (scaled) to preserve a common standard between examinations.

MFOM Part 2 Example Questions

The MCQ paper will contain around 120 multiple-choice questions, normally in the ‘choose one response from five’ format, whereby candidates must choose the ONE best answer from five possible answers.

MCQ Example 1

Which ONE of the following has been most clearly associated with the development of skin cancer?

(a) Welding

(b) Nickel

(c) Electromagnetic fields

(d) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

(e) Chromates

 

MCQ Example 2

Which is the most accurate statement regarding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

(a) It Is more common in males

(b) It can be associated with exposure to vibrating equipment

(c) Occupationally related cases do not respond to surgery

(d) It can be excluded if nerve conduction tests are normal

(e) Adson’s test is a useful clinical test for diagnosis

 

MCQ Example 3

Which ONE of the following is most true about case-control studies?

(a) They are used to study many health outcomes associated with a single exposure

(b) They are usually retrospective

(c) Cases should be prevalent cases of the disease

(d) Controls are often relatives of the cases

(e) Controls should be as similar as possible to cases except that they do not have the disease of interest

 

MCQ Example 4

Orf:

(a) Is caused by a paramyxovirus

(b) Typically starts as a pustular lesion

(c) Is common in pig farmers

(d) Scarring is a common consequence of infection

(e) Vaccination is not useful in controlling infection in animals

 

MEQ Example 1:

(a) List 3 low molecular weight substances that are known to cause occupational asthma. (3 marks)

(b) List 2 high molecular weight substances that are known to cause occupational asthma. (2 marks)

(c) List the 4 investigations that are the most helpful in the diagnosis of occupational asthma. (4 marks)

(d) Which of the investigations that you have listed is the first line investigation of occupational asthma thought to be caused by a high molecular weight substance? (1 mark)

 

MEQ Example 2

Write short notes on your approach to assessing the following pre-employment scenarios:

(a) An individual with asthma applying to become a firefighter. (3 marks)

(b) A doctor with HIV applying for a consultant job as a surgeon. (4 marks)

(c) An individual who has recently had a heart attack applying for a job as a taxi driver. (3 marks)

Date last modified: 17/11/22