Royal College of Physicians recruitment to core medical training 2011

MRCP(UK)

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This page contains information on the requirement for all applicants to ST3 specialties/programmes to have gained the full MRCP(UK) diploma or equivalent; plus guidance on how such 'equivalence' can be judged.


Postgraduate examination requirement

In 2011 an ST3 entry requirement was introduced, stating that candidates must have gained the full MRCP(UK) diploma - or an equivalent postgraduate examination - to be eligible for most ST3-level UK physicianly posts. This requirement remains in place for 2014 ST3 recruitment, with some slight updates for this recruitment year.

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


NB - the 'required deadline'

Within 2014 ST3 person specifications, under the qualifications entry criteria, 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.

For 2014 ST3 recruitment round 1, this required deadline is 6 August 2014. In the area of qualification, this means you must have gained the full MRCP(UK) examination (or alternative) or EEA eligibility by 6 August 2014.


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 consituent 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.

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'.

Pending examinations

As noted, you need only have gained Part 1 at the time of submitting your applicaton to ST3; although you will need to demonstrate that you can sit and gain results from any remaining part(s) of the examination before the required deadline.

You can continue to progress through the remainder of the recruitment round without having gained Part 2 and PACES, potentially right up to the point of being offered, and accepting, a post.

Obviously, you will only be permitted to take up the post if you pass the remaining examinations; should it become impossible for you to gain any missing parts by the required deadline, your application will be rejected as ineligible.

Providing information

On your application: within the qualifications page, 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

As can be seen on the (application) scoring page of this website, there are 14 points in total available to be awarded to applications for the MRCP(UK) diploma.

If you have gained MRCP(UK) Part 2 (written) at the time of application, you will have four points added to your application form score; while a further 10 points are available if you have passed PACES.

Please note - as with all other areas of the application form, these scores are only available at the time of application, as the score awarded to your application is designed to reflect your candidature at the point of submission.

That is: if you pass your examinations after applying, your application score cannot be amended.


Alternative UK examinations

While all 18 participating specialties will accept the MRCP(UK) as a suitable postgraduate examination for ST3 entry, four of the 18 - dermatology, haematology, palliative medicine, and rehabilitation medicine - are inviting applications from trainees who have undertaken alternative training routes.

These four specialties have also named other UK postgraduate examinations which can be accepted as alternatives to MRCP(UK).

Click on the relevant heading below for information on alternative examinations which will be accepted for entry to that specialty:

[Dermatology person specification]

If you wish to apply to dermatology, the MRCPCH (membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) examination will be accepted as a direct alternative to the MRCP(UK).

Part 1 (A & B)

If you wish to use MRCPCH, Part 1 (A and B) of the examination must be gained by the time of application - ie by time of submission of your application.

Provided you can demonstrate that you are eligible to sit and pass any missing parts of the diploma by the required deadline, you will be able to progress through the remainder of the recruitment process.

Full diploma

You must gain (sit and pass) the full MRCPCH diploma by the required deadline to be eligible for an ST3 post.

More information can be found on the dermatology page of this website.

[Haematology person specification]

If you wish to apply to haematology, the MRCPCH (membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) examination will be accepted as a direct alternative to MRCP(UK).

Part 1 (A & B)

If you wish to use MRCPCH, Part 1 (A and B) of the examination must be gained by the time of application - ie by time of submission of your application.

Provided you can demonstrate you are eligible to sit and pass any missing parts of the diploma by the stated deadline, you will be able to progress through the remainder of the recruitment process.

Full diploma

You must gain (sit and pass) the full MRCPCH diploma by the required deadline to be eligible for an ST3 post.

More information can be found on the haematology page of this website..

[Palliative medicine person specification]

There are a number of common training entry pathways into the specialty of palliative medicine; and hence there are a number of UK postgraduate examinations cited as an acceptable alternative to the MRCP(UK).

These are: MRCGP, FRCA, FRCS and MRCS(full)

If you opt to use one of these examinations, then should there be a first part of the examination/diploma, you would need to gain this by the time of application - ie the time at which you submit your application form.

In all cases, the full examination/diploma must be gained by the required deadline.

More information can be found on the palliative medicine page of this website.

[Rehabilitation medicine person specification]

In rehabiliation medicine, the MRCGP, FRCS, MRCS(full) and MRCPsych can all be used as alternative examinations in place of MRCP(UK).

Should there be a Part 1 to an examination you use, this must be gained by the time of application - ie the time at which you submit your application form.

In all cases, the full examination/diploma must be gained by the required deadline.

More information can be found on the rehabilitation medicine page of this website.

 

Providing information for alternative examinations

When using an alternative examination instead of the MRCP(UK), information is provided in exactly the same way:

On your application: within the qualifications page, 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 equivalent stage of an examination for MRCP(UK) Part 2 (written) is worth four points; while the equivalent of MRCP PACES is worth 10.

Please note - as with all other areas of the application form, these scores are only available at the time of application, as the score awarded to your application is designed to reflect your candidature at the point of submission.

That is: if you pass your examinations after applying, your application score cannot be amended.


EEA eligibility

Within each 2014 ST3 person specification, an explicitly-stated alternative to gaining the MRCP(UK) examination is 'EEA eligibility'.

This is an extremely complex area, and is difficult to describe specifically; but we have added information below to try and assist with this.

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.'

With the qualifications requirements of ST3 person specifications set up primarily regarding those which are available to UK trainees, this directive requires that in ST3 recruitment, consideration is given to EEA trainees who may gained comparable 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, 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 (from an ST3 recruitment perspective).

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, or contains the equivalent of, the UK's core medical training (CMT) programme;
  • and in a specialty which falls within the 'mutual recognition of specialties' rules;
  • 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).

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

    Gained a CCT (certificate of completion of training)

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

    (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, and in a country that falls under the EC directive described above, you need to provide evidence as below:

    • 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.

    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 by the relevant deanery/LETB after submission.

    Please note that it will be at the discretion of the recruitment team managing your application as to whether they are satisfied that your training is indeed at the level required.

    However - your application will likely progress through the long-listing stage (if otherwise eligible), and your training and experience will be assessed at interview (should your application score highly enough to progress through short-listing, if applicable).

    Where possible, evidence should be supplied at interview, and must be supplied prior to any post offered.

    Providing information

    On your application: within the qualifications page, when asked: 'Have you passed MRCP(UK) Part 1...', select 'alternative / equivalent exam' from the drop-down list.

    This will then bring up a free-text box, where you can explain your status - ie that you meet the MRCP(UK) through your EEA training.

    For the MRCP(UK) Part 2 and PACES questions select 'Not listed' and then explain your status as per Part 1.

    At interview: either provide evidence that you are on the GMC specialist register, a letter from 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 while EEA eligibility will allow you to be considered for an ST3 post, the points awarded for achieving MRCP(UK) qualifications specifically are not available here.


    MRCP Ireland

    In 2014, the chief difference from how guidelines on how qualifications entry criteria were applied in previous rounds is that the MRCP (Ireland) examination will no longer be an accepted substitute for the MRCP(UK) for ST3 recruitment purposes.

    However, candidates who are EEA nationals whose training to date has been undertaken under the Irish physician training system may still be eligible under the EEA eligibility rule (see above).


    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.


    2014 only

    Please be aware that the information given on this page applies solely to ST3 recruitment in 2014. Entry/selection criteria for ST3 in 2015 are being discussed at present, but are not yet confirmed.

    Should 2015 information become available, it will be published here.


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