Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board recruitment to core medical training 2011

MRCP(UK)

This page contains information on the requirement for all applicants to ST3 specialties/programmes to have gained the full MRCP(UK) diploma or recognised alternative; including guidance on acceptable alternatives.


Postgraduate examination requirement

It is an ST3 entry requirement that candidates must have gained the full MRCP(UK) diploma - or a suitable alternative - to be eligible for most ST3-level UK physicianly posts.

There are three potential ways in which this requirement can be met: gaining the MRCP(UK) diploma itself; alternative training pathway examinations; and 'EEA eligibility'. See below for details on each of these methods.


NB - the 'required deadline'

Within the 'Entry criteria > Qualifications' section of the ST3 person specifications, and elsewhere on this page (and this website), reference is made to 'the required deadline'.

This 'required deadline' is a date set at the beginning of a recruitment round (within each specialty's published advertisement), by which applicants must gain the requirement in question - this will be published in the relevant advert for each specialty.

If you cannot demonstrate you will gain the necessary qualification by this date, your application(s) cannot be regarded as eligible, and thus will be withdrawn.

Round 1

For 2015 ST3 recruitment round 1, this required deadline is Wednesday 5 August 2015 .

Round 2

In 2015 ST3 recruitment round 2, the required deadline is Thursday 31 December 2015 .


The MRCP(UK) examination

There are three parts to the MRCP(UK) examination - Part 1, Part 2 (written), and Part 2 (clinical examination) - commonly referred to as 'Part 1', 'Part 2' and 'PACES'.

There are different requirements for when these parts must be gained for you to be eligible within the ST3 recruitment process.

[NB - for information on the MRCP(UK) examination and its constituent parts, please visit the MRCP(UK) website .]

Part 1

You must have gained - sat and passed - Part 1 by the time of application - ie by the time you submit your application form (submission deadline is Wednesday 11 March 2015 [4pm, UK time]).

Any applications received without this (or suitable alternative) will be rejected as ineligible.

Part 2 (written) and PACES

You must have gained - sat and passed - the remaining two parts of the examination (Part 2 and PACES) by the 'required deadline'.

[NB - in 2015 ST3 round 1, the required deadline (see above) is Wednesday 5 August 2014 .

Pending examinations

If you are missing Part 2 and/or PACES at the time of application, you must still be able to demonstrate that you can sit  and pass the missing exam(s) before the required deadline.

It is possible to progress through the remainder of the recruitment round, potentially right up to the point of being offered, and accepting, a post. Obviously, in the event you fail to gain the missing parts, the offer will be withdrawn.

Scoring

As shown on the application scoring page of this website, 14 of the 78 points available to your application relate to having gained Part 2 (four points) and PACES (10 points).

However, please note these 14 points are only available at the time of application. Exams passed post-application do not garner any points as part of your assessment; although interviewers can take this into account as part of your overall assessment at interview.

Providing information

On your application : give details on which parts of the examination you have passed to date

At interview : provide certification of passed examinations, and evidence of places booked on any upcoming examinations.


Alternative UK examinations

While all partner specialties will accept the MRCP(UK) as a suitable postgraduate examination for ST3 entry, several will also invite and accept applications from trainees who have undertaken alternative training pathways; and will thus accept alternative UK postgraduate examinations.

These specialties are: audiovestibular medicine , clinical genetics , dermatology , haematology , palliative medicine , rehabilitation medicine and sport & exercise medicine .

[The only postgraduate examination accepted by the other 15 specialties is MRCP(UK).]

The alternative requirements for these seven specialties are examined below:

There are four routes available here; candidates need one of:

  • Physician training (eg CMT) - MRCP(UK) Part 1 at time of application; full MRCP(UK) by required deadline
  • Paediatric training - full MRCPH diploma by required deadline
  • Otolaryngology (ENT) training - full MRCS plus DOHNS or MRCS (ENT) at time of application
  • General practice - full MRCGP at time of application.

These three specialties all share the same postgraduate examination requirements. Candidates seeking a position in one of these specialties must have one of the following:

  • Physician training (eg CMT) - MRCP(UK) Part 1 at time of application; full MRCP(UK) by required deadline
  • Paediatric training - MRCPCH Part 1 A & B at time of application; full MRCPCH by required deadline.

Palliative medicine invites applications from four possible training backgrounds; qualifications for which are as below:

  • Physician training (eg CMT) - MRCP(UK) Part 1 at time of application; full MRCP(UK) by required deadline
  • General practice - MRCGP (AKT) at time of application; full MRCGP (with CCT) by required deadline
  • Surgical training - MRCS (Part A) or FRCS (Primary) at time of application; full MRCS or FRCS by required deadline
  • Anaesthetics training - FRCA (Primary) at time of application; full FRCA by required deadline.

Palliative medicine invites applications from four possible training backgrounds; qualifications for which are as below:

  • Physician training (eg CMT) - MRCP(UK) Part 1 at time of application; full MRCP(UK) by required deadline
  • General practice - MRCGP (AKT) at time of application; full MRCGP (with CCT) by required deadline
  • Surgical training - MRCS (Part A) or FRCS (Primary) at time of application; full MRCS or FRCS by required deadline
  • Psychiatry training - MRCPsych (Part I / Papers 1 & 2) at time of application; full MRCPsych by required deadline.

Any of the below three postgraduate qualifications can be used for entry to ST3 SEM posts:

  • Physician training (eg CMT) - MRCP(UK) Part 1 at time of application; full MRCP(UK) by required deadline
  • General practice - MRCGP (AKT) at time of application; full MRCGP (with CCT) by required deadline
  • Emergency medicine training - MCEM (Part A) at time of application; full MCEM by required deadline.

Providing information for alternative examinations

Information is provided in exactly the same way for any of the above examinations:

On your application : give details on which parts of the examination you have passed to date

At interview : provide certification of passed examinations, and evidence of places booked on any upcoming examinations.

Application scores

Just as with the MRCP(UK), 14 points are available within the application when using alternative examinations; the alternative to MRCP(UK) Part 2 is worth four points, and PACES is worth 10.

And as with MRCP(UK), these points are only awarded at the time of application ; passing these exams after applying will not see your application score amended - although your interviewers can take this into account as part of their overall assessment.


EEA eligibility

In order to be considered eligible to apply for an ST3 medical specialty, candidates are ordinarily required to hold evidence of completion of the UK core medical training programme (or equivalent) plus the full MRCP(UK) diploma.

However, in accordance with EU directive 2005/36/EC (describing free movement of professionals) it is possible for certain individuals to provide alternate evidence in order to fulfil this requirement.

In order to support movement of professionals within the EEA, whist ensuring candidates are trained to an appropriate level to enter UK training at ST3, the JRCPTB has produced the following guidance that must be demonstrated in order to be considered under directive 2005/36/EC rather than need to have undertaken the MRCP(UK).

This is an extremely complex area, so please read the guidance carefully if you wish to apply under these rules.

We have broken this down into separate areas; please click on the relevant heading for more information:

This term refers to the interpretation of EU directive 2005/36/EC (regarding free movement of professionals) within the field of medical recruitment.

Obviously, the directive itself is a particularly large and complex document; but essentially, this describes the removal of obstacles to EEA nationals wishing to 'pursue a profession...in (an EEA) Member State other than the one in which they have obtained their professional qualifications.'

The qualifications requirements within ST3 person specifications are set up with a primary focus on those which are available to UK trainees; so this directive requires that in ST3 recruitment, consideration is given to EEA trainees who may have gained comparable training and qualifications in the EEA, but outside of the UK.

The MRCP(UK) examination is an exit requirement for UK CMT trainees - ie until a trainee gains the full MRCP(UK) diploma, they cannot fully complete their CMT programme.

So - from a recruitment perspective at least - if a trainee is considered to be at the same level as someone who has completed UK CMT, they could also be considered to be at the same level as someone who has gained the full MRCP(UK) examination.

Thus, if a candidate is in a position to apply to ST3 via the 'EEA eligibility' route, their training to date may be considered sufficient to meet the qualifications requirement - ie they may not need to gain the MRCP(UK) diploma to be eligible for ST3 recruitment.

Essentially, if you have trained:

  • outside of the UK in another EEA nation;
  • on a training programme which is comparable to the UK's core medical training (CMT) programme ;
  • or you are eligible for the GMC specialist register in general internal medicine
  • and you are an EEA national

Then it may be possible for you to be considered as having achieved the same standard of training as someone who has completed CMT in the UK (from an ST3 recruitment perspective, at least); and thus you may not need to gain the full MRCP(UK).

In 2015 we have given clarification on what a training programme must contain to be considered comparable to UK core medical training; unless your training programme met all of the below criteria, in addition to the points above, you will not be eligible to apply without the MRCP(UK).

Training must have:

  • been for at least two years in duration
  • involved rotation through at least four medical specialties with each rotation lasting at least three months
  • involved a minimum of 12 months in specialties involving the care of acute medical in-patients
  • required the completion of a general internal medicine examination, linked to the programme, which includes both a written and an observational assessment of clinical skills
  • included a formal assessment procedure of workplace-based assessment.

Please note that to be eligible your training must have been completed by time of application, you cannot apply without the MRCP(UK) on the basis of EEA training which is due to finish after the application period.

This will depend on your training status to date, as below:

Gained a CCT (certificate of completion of training) in general internal medicine

If you have gained a CCT in general internal medicine, and in a country that falls under the EC directive described above, you can provide evidence in one of two ways:

You will need to demonstrate on the application form, via the specific MRCP(UK) section, that you have attained this level of training. 

(More information on CCTs can be found on the GMC and JRCPTB websites.)

Completed CMT-comparable training

If you have completed a training programme which is comparable to, or contains the equivalent of, the UK's CMT programme, you need to provide evidence as below:

  • details of how your training has met the criteria for being considered 'comparable' to UK core medical training
  • a letter from the equivalent of the UK GMC in the country in which your training was completed, confirming that your training meets the directive.

Again, you will need to demonstrate on the application form, via the employment section and in the specific MRCP(UK) section, that you have attained training comparable to UK core medical training.

We must emphasise that the information above is just the starting point in providing evidence of your EEA eligibility; assessment of this evidence alongside your application will be undertaken after submission.

Please note that it will be at the discretion of the JRCPTB and those assessing your application as to whether they are satisfied that your training is indeed at the level required.

It is important to note that, depending on evidence submitted, it may not be possible to confirm eligibility at the time of application. So this should be considered an on-going assessment process up to the point of any interview attended.

Providing information

On your application: in the MRCP(UK) section of the form you will be given the chance to indicate that you are applying via the EEA alternative training route and that you meet the MRCP(UK) requirement through your EEA training.

You will be directed to include details of your training to demonstrate that it is comparable to UK core medical training, this will require you to explain how your training meets each of the bullet points detailing what your training must have entailed.

At interview: either provide evidence that you are on the GMC specialist register, a letter from the GMC confirming mutual recognition of training or from your country's equivalent of the GMC confirming that your training meets the directive.

Application scores

Please also note that EEA candidates who have completed training in another country will be awarded the same 14 points for MRCP(UK) that is available to those completing the MRCP(UK).

Important! Please note:

The rules on recognition of professional qualifications obtained within the EEA have not changed in 2015.

Instead, this guidance has been designed to provide greater clarity to potential candidates on how they can demonstrate they meet the requirements.

Please note also that eligibility in previous years does not guarantee you will be eligible in 2015. Only if your training can meet all the required components will you be eligible to apply without the MRCP(UK) under this ruling.

Those interested in applying for an ST3 medical specialty are reminded that the successful completion of two years medical specialty experience above UK foundation level or equivalent, core medical training competences, together with the full MRCP(UK), would also be considered as acceptable evidence of previous training and competence.


MRCP Ireland

As was the case in 2014, the MRCP(Ireland) examination will not be accepted as a direct substitute for the MRCP(UK) in ST3 recruitment.

However, candidates who are EEA nationals, whose training to date has been undertaken under the Irish 'Basic Specialty Training' system, and who have gained the MRCP(Ireland) examination, are likely to be eligible under the EEA eligibility rule described above (assuming all other criteria are also met).


Hong Kong & Singapore

The MHKCP (Hong Kong) and MMed Singapore qualifications both contain the full MRCP(UK) diploma, and hence both will continue to be accepted as 'alternative' to MRCP(UK); as has been the case in previous years.


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