RCR unveils new clinical oncology curriculum

Friday 11 December 2020

The RCR has released its new and enhanced curriculum for clinical oncology, which sets the standards for doctors training to become specialists in non-surgical cancer care.

The updated and reshaped curriculum reflects the GMC’s Excellence by Design standards for postgraduate curricula. It replaces the old extensive and granular lists of knowledge, skills and behaviours from the previous 2016 curriculum with concise outcomes and a more intuitive approach to assessment.

Clinical oncology trainees will transfer across to the new curriculum after their annual review for the 2020-21 training year. Those currently in their final year of training will not need to transfer over.

The new curriculum has been developed in close partnership with the medical oncology Specialty Advisory Committee, overseen by the Joint Royal College of Physicians Training Board.  The clinical and medical oncology curricula have been closely aligned, and contain shared outcomes as well as a common first year of training for clinical and medical oncology trainees. 

Commenting on the rollout of shared first-year training across clinical and medical oncology, Dr Rachel Cooper, the RCR’s Medical Director of Education and Training for Clinical Oncology, said:

“Clinical and medical oncologists work closely together as part of the wider cancer team to deliver the non-surgical components of cancer treatment plans. The alignment of the two curricula will further strengthen the relationship between the two specialties and produce doctors who can better lead the effective multi-disciplinary management of patient-centred cancer care, particularly for the increasing number of cancer patients undergoing multiple treatment plans.”

The new curriculum covers high-level competency areas that are specific to the development of clinical oncology consultants – such as delivery of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy and brachytherapy.

It also includes an increased emphasis on acute oncology, with the aim of producing consultants that can lead and develop services that support the emergency management of cancer patients, and those with treatment-related complications. 

Dr Cooper added:

“Wherever they are established across the UK, acute oncology services are frequently viewed as the glue in the system – supporting patient-centred care and acting as the face of oncology in acute care services.

“Training in acute oncology has been variably implemented, though it is being delivered in a more formal manner in many centres. The new curriculum places acute oncology competence as a high-level outcome, and trainees will be required to demonstrate the ability to deliver the acute oncology take, manage oncological emergencies and work within and manage the acute oncology team as appropriate to their stage of training.”

The curriculum and a range of support and implementation tools are hosted on a dedicated section of the RCR website, with more resources expected in coming months.  

For more information, please contact: curriculum@rcr.ac.uk

Further information about the RCR’s work to progress acute oncology provision and training can be found in our recent acute oncology campaign paper