New assessments for specialty register

DOCTORS looking to join the specialty register through equivalency routes should undergo a workplace-based evaluation of their practice and a formal knowledge test, the General Medical Council has recommended.

If introduced, the plans would affect juniors who want to obtain a certificate of eligibility for specialist registration (CESR) or a certificate of eligibility for general practice registration (CEGPR) as well as applicants who have not practised in the UK as a licensed doctor for at least six months in the previous three years. Eminent overseas doctors could, however, be exempt from this requirement.

The GMC is currently consulting on ways to improve equivalence routes to the specialist and GP registers for doctors who have not completed an approved training programme that leads to a certificate of completion of training (CCT).

The current application process for CESR and CEGPR requires doctors to demonstrate that their knowledge, skill, and experience is equivalent to that of a CCT holder. But the regulator concluded that the process was onerous and too reliant on documentary evidence of past performance rather than on robust peer evaluation of current performance.

Only 46 per cent of the CESR holders surveyed on behalf of the GMC and 28 per cent of the CEGPR holders said the application process had been relatively straightforward, compared with 74.5 per cent of CCT holders.

The research also found that many doctors and employers do not regard the CESR and CEGPR as equivalent to the CCT.

The GMC consultation runs until June 15. Respond online here