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Education and training in the context of COVID-19

We understand that many trainees are concerned about the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their training and progression through the programme.

The RCOG has been working with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC), Health Education England (HEE), General Medical Council (GMC) and the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans (COPMeD) to support our trainees in these extraordinary circumstances.

18 January 2021 update

A joint statement has been released by the 4 UK statutory education bodies – HEE, NHS Education for Scotland (NES), Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency (NIMDTA) – which covers releasing candidates and doctors in postgraduate training for both recruitment and exams.

Read the full statement:
Specialty Recruitment Update: Release of candidates and doctors in postgraduate training for recruitment and assessments – January 2021 (PDF)

The Academy also has released a statement on exams, which is reviewed regularly:

RCOG Training in gynaecological surgery recovery plan

May 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has interrupted routine and elective surgery, and further exacerbated the problem. The priority, as always, is to remain committed to maintaining safe and effective standards in gynaecology, now and in the future.

The aim of this page is to produce guidance and recommendations that can facilitate strategies to plan effective recovery of training in gynaecological surgery, and to outline a set of principles and actions at a national, regional, and local level.

Read the full plan

HEE Education and training update and guidance

HEE has produced some updated guidance  on Education and Training including February rotations, suspension of training, educator deployment and supervision.

HEE have published a statement on the recovery of training:
Read the full statement – May 2021

The Academy has released guidance for placing doctors in training in the Independent Sector: 
Guidance for placement of Doctors in Training in the Independent Sector – February 2021 (PDF)

Read the full update and guidance – January 2021 (PDF)


The AoMRC, COPMed and GMC have released a statement making it clear that trainees in programmes will not be disadvantaged by missing exams because of circumstances outwith their control related to COVID-19. Progression through training that is dependent on exam success will not be automatically halted but will be based on evidence of competence and capability, with the expectation that the exam is successfully completed at a future sitting.

Read the full statement – March 2020 (PDF)


The 4 UK statutory education bodies – HEE, NHS Education for Scotland (NES), Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency (NIMDTA) – have issued a statement setting out their contingency planning for ARCPs.

Read the full statement – March 2020 (PDF)

The SEBs have been working together with Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties to review how ARCPs can be managed in 2020. The aims are to ensure that patient safety remains a primary focus and to reduce the burden on trainees, trainers and the health services in the 4 countries during this pandemic while enabling as many trainees as possible to progress in their training at the normal rate.

As such a number of changes have been introduced for ARCPs which are scheduled to take place before August 2020:

  • ARCP panels in 2020 will be convened with the minimum number of two panellists and that the panellists will be enabled to deliver the ARCP process remotely by videoconference
  • Royal Colleges have been asked to define the minimum curriculum requirements and where normal evidence is not available due to the impact of COVID-19, panels should consider the use of compensatory evidence
  • Two new ARCP Outcomes have been introduced for 2020. Outcomes 10.1 and 10.2 recognise that progress of the trainee has been satisfactory but that acquisition of competences/capabilities by the trainee has been delayed by COVID-19 disruption. These are therefore ‘no-fault’ outcomes. If the outcome 10.1 is awarded the trainee can progress to the next stage of training as overall progress will be assumed to be satisfactory. However, if the trainee is at a critical point in training and has been affected by the pandemic an outcome 10.2 should be awarded and further time allowed in the training programme

See further RCOG guidance on the 2020 ARCP process

O&G recruitment – ST1 and ST3

Please see Applying for specialty training in O&G for specialty recruitment, which is managed by HEE NW.

Previous updates

HEE has cancelled all specialty recruitment interviews scheduled to take place in April 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The letters below provide more information for ST1 and ST3 O&G applicants.

Other impacts on training and education

HEE has issued guidance to all Trusts on the management of training progammes in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, to ensure the welfare of junior doctors is protected and they are supported to practise safely. Read the full letter – March 2020 (PDF)

HEE, NES, HEIW and NIMDTA have also issued joint guidance regarding medical education and training under current circumstances. Read the full statement – March 2020 (PDF)

We will keep this page updated as more information becomes available.