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 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 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.

Round 1

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 by 6 August 2014.

Round 2

In round 2, the required deadline by which the full MRCP(UK) diploma, alternative postgraduate qualification or EEA eligibility must be gained is Wednesday 31 December 2014.

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gain the necessary qualification by this date, your application(s) cannot be regarded as eligible, and thus will be withdrawn.

Due to the dates of the MRCP(UK) Part 2 Written, it is not possible to gain this by the required deadline and therefore you will not be eligible this round if you need this to meet the entry requirements.

Start dates in round 2

One point to note in round 2 is that post start dates can be variable - between October 2014 and spring 2015.

Should you progress through the round to the point of being made, and accepting, a post offer with a start date scheduled for before the date on which you receive results on any missing parts of your MRCP(UK) (/alternative/etc.), then the employing region will defer the post start date until your results are received.

Should you obtain the missing parts of the examination/diploma, and thus become eligible for the post, you can then begin the post as soon as need be; obviously, should you fail to gain the full diploma, your application and offer must be withdrawn.

As noted above, deferral of start date can only take place until 31 December 2014; if results cannot be gained before then, your application(s) cannot be regarded as eligible.


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.

Round 2 eligibility

Due to the dates scheduled for 2014 MRCP(UK) examinations, in comparison with the ST3 round 2 timeline, it will not be possible for candidates who do not have MRCP(UK) Part 2 (written) already to gain this in time to apply for round 2; results for the next examination after the application closing date are not released until January 2015.

However, if you are missing PACES, there will be an opportunity (depending on when you read this) to gain the examination before the round 2 deadline. Applications for the 2014/3 PACES diet are accepted between 28 July-11 August; exams will be sat between 29 September and 30 November; and results will be released 10 working days after a candidate's exam.

For more information on the PACES examination and how to apply, please visit the MRCP(UK) website.

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.

Application scores

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

As such, these four specialties have 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: 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.'

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, 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:

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

(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, which would lead to a CCT in a specialty falling under the mutual recognition rules, 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.

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 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).

Where possible, evidence should be supplied at interview, and must be supplied prior to starting in post.

 

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 need to include details of your training to demonstrate that it is comparable to UK core medical training, including details of any examinations you have attained as part of your training.

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. If you do not have this evidence by time of interview, you can supply this up until 31 December 2014, however, you will not be able to start in post until this evidence has been received and confirmed.

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.


2015 recruitment

Please be aware that the information given above applies solely to ST3 recruitment in 2014 (rounds 1 and 2). The rules will be mainly the same but those applying under the EEA eligibility rules should note that there will be clarification about what training must entail to be considered comparable to UK core medical training, therefore enabling eligibility for ST3 without needing to complete the MRCP(UK). 

At this time, the full definition is being confirmed but below is provisional information about the clarified rules:

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).

For entry via 2005/36/EC, the candidate must be able to evidence;

  • they are an EEA national;
  • they have completed a recognised training programme in an EEA country, which is not the UK, comparable to the UK's core medical training programme. This must include completion of the associated post-graduate general medicine examination for that training programme;
  • achievement of core medical training competences; this will be via submission of the standard ‘Alternate Certificate of Core Competence’;

For example: A candidate that has successfully completed an approved Basic Specialty Training programme, plus the MRCPI examination in the Republic of Ireland, would (upon submission of accepted evidence) be considered to have fulfilled the 'EEA Eligibility' criteria and so could apply to ST3 specialties without having completed the MRCP(UK) examination. They would of course still need to fulfil all of the other requirements outlined in the person specification.

  • Alternatively, candidates who are eligible for entry onto the GMC Specialist Register in General Internal Medicine are considered eligible.

How do I know if I am 'EEA eligible?'

A pro forma and additional supporting guidance detailing the required components the training programme must have included in order to be considered ‘comparable’ will be available in due course. In the meantime, candidates may find it useful to consider the information contained in the UK Core Medical Training Curriculum. It is important to note that, depending on evidence submitted, it may not be possible to confirm eligibility at the time of application, and so should be considered an on-going assessment process up to the point of any interview attended.

Important: the rules around recognition of professional qualifications obtained within the EEA have not changed. Instead this guidance has been designed to provide greater clarity to potential candidates on how they can demonstrate they meet the requirements. Please note 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.


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