Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on specialty training recruitment

Trainees currently applying to clinical oncology training

16 April 2020

On Tuesday 14 April, round 1 clinical oncology applicants excluding applicants who were found unappointable at the interviews held on Monday 16 March, were sent a self-assessment questionnaire to be completed and resubmitted by Monday 27 April. The HEE team, together with four clinical oncology consultants, including the clinical oncology national recruitment leads and the Medical Director for Education and Training, Clinical Oncology are involved in this process, as 30% of the evidence submitted will be quality assured and checked. We are also working closely with a team of psychologists regarding the weighting of scores with the intention of using as much data as possible to ensure robust rankings. Offers for clinical oncology will be sent to applicants on Monday 11 May. Regrettably, unlike in the past when medical and clinical oncology offers are released together, this is not possible on this occasion and the medical oncology offers will be released at the end of April. However, applicants will be able to hold offers until the clinical oncology offers have been sent out on Monday 11 May.

26 March 2020

Following the Prime Minister’s press conference on 16 March 2020, Health Education England (HEE) took the decision to cancel the second day of national recruitment to clinical oncology training. The RCR was not consulted on this decision. The four UK Statutory Education Bodies – HEE, NHS Education Scotland (NES), Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) and Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency (NIMDTA) – are currently revising all recruitment processes (PDF) to ensure that selection can take place and will be providing further information in due course. We are in contact with the HEE recruitment team and will keep trainees updated as the situation becomes clearer.

The current situation has caused the cancellation of diets for parts of the MRCP Diploma. Progression to clinical oncology training at ST3 usually requires trainees to have acquired the full Diploma. If they have not attained this by the end of Core Medical Training, they are usually unable to take up their clinical oncology posts until they have achieved the Diploma. In the current emergency, however, for those trainees who are yet to pass part 2 written MRCP and /or PACES to enter an ST3 post from August 2020, but who have already passed part 1 MRCP, an agreement has been reached that they will be able to take up their ST3 posts. Specific arrangements should be made to support these trainees.  Progression in training will continue to be assessed and no trainee will progress into ST4 without obtaining the full MRCP(UK) diploma. Trainees who have not obtained the full MRCP diploma will be reviewed at their ARCP at the end of ST3 and issued with an Outcome 3 to extend training by an agreed period. An Outcome 4 would be issued if the diploma was not achieved by the end of the extension period.

Trainees due to enter clinical radiology training

26 March 2020

National recruitment for ST1 posts in clinical radiology has already been completed. On 16 March 2020 the GMC, HEE, NES, HEIW, and NIMDTA published a joint letter confirming that all planned rotations due to take place during the 'delay phase' of COVID-19 will cease, with trainees being asked to stay in their present working environment unless local arrangements allow otherwise, or wider clinical circumstances require it. This may mean that starting a new ST1 radiology post could be delayed if trainees are still needed in their current roles.