Trainee progression and coronavirus (COVID-19)

Annual review of competency progression (ARCP) 


The four UK Statutory Education Bodies have published updated guidance for ARCPs, which provides a generic ARCP decision aid for ARCPs taking place from May 2020. This decision aid incorporates derogations to the Gold Guide, which include two new ARCP outcomes and new coding for ARCP outcomes that allow recognition of the impact of COVID-19 on training.  They have also published guidance for managing extensions to training during COVID-19.  The GMC has confirmed that the derogations to the Gold Guide will remain in place for as long as training is disrupted by the pandemic and will not be removed without prior consultation.

The RCR has amended curriculum requirements to allow trainees affected by COVID-19 to progress at ARCP where possible, provided that they are otherwise making expected progress. These changes have been updated for 2021 and approved by the GMC.  We have produced specialty-specific guidance that outlines these changes and is intended to support ARCP panels in applying the generic guidance to clinical radiology and clinical oncology.  This guidance includes amended ARCP decision aids  that will apply to ARCPs until further notice:

Trainees in England are now required to complete a self-assessment form prior to ARCP, to document the impact of COVID-19 on their training. This form is available from HEE local offices. We recommend that trainees discuss this with their educational supervisor before the educational supervisor's report is completed. This is not a requirement in the devolved nations.

For radiology trainees who anticipate a three month period or longer away from training, we have adapted our return to training toolkit to facilitate a structured and supported return to training following the COVID-19 period. These new COVID specific resources are available on the supported return to training page and can be uploaded to Kaizen to facilitate discussion with supervisors. 

Trainees currently out of programme (OOP)

It is recognised that out of programme time, whether for research, teaching or other experience, can be an important part of training.  Some trainees may have returned to clinical training, or delayed the start of a period of OOP, to help to manage the response to the pandemic.  These trainees should be supported to resume their OOP as soon as possible.  Our recommendation is that affected trainees should discuss the impact on their training progress with their supervisor(s) and TPD as soon as possible, taking account of competency and minimum training times.

OOP trainees who would be expecting to return to training during this period should ideally discuss the plans for this with their TPD.  Where possible, they should return to training as planned, with the same support that they would have at any other time. This will be subject to local decision-making and trainees should discuss with their supervisor(s) the best course of action to take. HEE has published advice for those returning to training at this time.

Trainee time off due to illness/self-isolation

Consideration must be given to any trainee who loses time at work as a result of develop COVID-19 symptoms, having specific health vulnerabilities that prevent them working at the present time, or self-isolating due to COVID-19 related concerns with a member of their household. Please refer to national guidance and see the training and education resources page.

Updated 25 March 2022