Coronavirus information for trainees

We’re working closely with all organisations involved in postgraduate medical training to support trainees throughout this challenging period. We hope this information about our work provides some reassurance.

But we know this is still an uncertain time and many trainees will be worried about future exams and progression. We’re regularly reviewing the situation and listening to feedback from trainees.

Guiding principles for all trainees

At the start of the pandemic, we developed guiding principles for those involved in your training to follow. These include:

  • you shouldn’t be asked to carry out any activities beyond your level of competence
  • you should receive appropriate induction and supervision if you’re moved to a different clinical area 

Supporting training progression

We’ve worked with *education bodies across the UK to update our policy on temporary changes (derogations) to postgraduate curriculum requirements, where training has been disrupted by the pandemic. This means that we’ll consider new requests for temporary curriculum changes which maintain standards and patient safety. This will support the Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) process.

We recognise that alternative ways of making progress may add pressure on trainees. When deciding the appropriate outcome, ARCP panels should make sure trainees will be working within their competence. They should also assess the patient safety impact and the likelihood of trainees catching up beyond the initial 12 months.

All changes to support progression introduced in 2020 will continue for the period of disruption caused by the pandemic, and at least until September 2021.

*Our derogation policy has been signed by:

  • Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
  • Professor Colin Melville, Medical Director and Director, Education and Standards, General Medical Council
  • Professor Wendy Reid, Education, Quality and Medical Director, Health Education England
  • Professor Pushpinder Mangat, Medical Director, Health Education and Improvement Wales
  • Professor Stewart Irvine, Medical Director, NHS Education for Scotland
  • Dr Ian Steele, Postgraduate Medical Dean and Director of Education, Northern Ireland Medical & Dental Training Agency

Running exams safely

We’ve developed new guidance for postgraduate exams during the pandemic. In collaboration with royal colleges, faculties and trainees, this has enabled over 100 exams to run safely, while upholding standards.

Identifying and addressing issues using our national training survey

This year’s national training survey will inform our work with others to help training recover and support your wellbeing, as we move forward from this challenging time.

They’ll help us as we continue to take forward recommendations from Professor Michael West and Dame Denise Coia’s UK-wide wellbeing review, ‘Caring for doctors, caring for patients. And they’ll also influence our work with health services and partners across the UK, to promote supportive and inclusive healthcare cultures and training environments for all doctors.