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ATSMs: FAQs

This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about the ATSMs:

How do I register for an ATSM?

Please visit the page that explains how to register for an ATSM.

How much does it cost to register for an ATSM?

Please see details on the Advanced Training registration fee and how to pay.

When should I register for an ATSM?

You can register for an ATSM once you are in ST6 or SpR 4, but you should start planning which ATSMs you would like/are able to do throughout training, especially towards the end of intermediate training. Early registration (at the start of ST6) is advised to give you enough time to develop the competencies.

However, training in O&G is a continuum and there is nothing to prevent you from developing knowledge and skills before formal registration (although this shouldn’t detract from the acquisition of the intermediate training competencies). This could help you to sign off the ATSM competencies more quickly, once you’ve registered.

How should I choose which ATSMs to do?

Your choice of ATSM is very important, as the skills you acquire at this stage of your training will determine the special interests you follow in future consultant posts. You should start thinking about your choice throughout training, especially towards the end of intermediate training. You should discuss your options with your Educational Supervisor, the ATSM Preceptor for specific ATSMs in your deanery, and your deanery ATSM Director.

I’m an SpR or LAT trainee (ST6/7 equivalent): can I register for an ATSM?

ATSMs are open to ST, SpR and locum appointment for training (LAT) (year ST6/7 equivalent) trainees, provided you meet the criteria set out in the ATSM regulations.

If you’re an SpR and moved to SpR 5 before 31 October 2013, or LAT, you don’t need to complete ATSMs to obtain your CCT, but you would still benefit from ATSM training. You should discuss your training choices with your deanery ATSM Director.

If you’re an SpR who didn’t move to SpR5 before 31 October 2013, you’ll have to complete two ATSMs to be recommended for CCT. For more information, please see the guidance for SpRs moving to the single version of the core curriculum.

I’m in a career grade post: can I register for an ATSM?

Career grade posts include staff grades, associate specialists and post-CCT doctors, including consultants – all of whom can register with the RCOG for ATSMs, provided you meet the criteria set out in the ATSM regulations. You’ll need to:

  • Discuss your intention to undertake ATSM training as part of your job planning and appraisal process
  • Have your Clinical Director’s approval, to ensure you have sufficient time in your job plan
  • Discuss your request for ATSM training with your deanery ATSM Director

Your ATSM Director will be able to advise whether there are sufficient ATSM training opportunities within your deanery. ST trainees must complete ATSMs to gain their CCT and therefore are given priority. However, many Deaneries report additional training capacity.

I’m a subspecialty trainee: can I register for an ATSM?

Please read the FAQs about ATSMs and subspecialty training.

I’m an overseas trainee spending some time training in the UK: can I register for an ATSM?

Yes, you may register for an ATSM. Your ATSM Director will be able to advise whether there are sufficient ATSM training opportunities within your deanery. ST trainees must complete ATSMs to gain their CCT and therefore are given priority. However, many Deaneries report additional training capacity.

If you do register for an ATSM, you’ll need to complete the registration form (PDF, 90 kb) and register with the RCOG. If you don’t meet the criteria to register with the RCOG, your deanery  may still offer training and provide a certificate of equivalent training for your records when you complete the ATSM. However, this certificate doesn’t count towards CCT or CESR(CP).

Are there any mandatory ATSMs?

None of the ATSMs are mandatory. When choosing your ATSMs, consider your own skills and the likely consultant job opportunities. As most trainees will aim for a post with an element of out-of-hours labour ward commitment, we recommend that most trainees consider the ATSM in advanced labour ward practice.

How much time am I allowed to complete an ATSM?

There’s no defined amount of time for completing an ATSM. ATSMs are competency based so the time needed to complete an ATSM varies depending on the trainee and the ATSM itself.

The two years of advanced training should be sufficient for you to achieve all of the core curriculum requirements as well as completing two ATSMs.

How many ATSMs can I register for?

You can register for any combination of ATSMs provided the combined work intensity score is no greater than 3.0. Once you’ve completed an ATSM, you may register for another (if resources allow), provided the new combined work intensity score is no greater than 3.0. Therefore, the total number of ATSMs you can take will depend on the combinations you choose and how quickly you progress through the competencies, as well as availability of training places.

Is there a maximum number of ATSMs I’m allowed to do?

You only need to complete two ATSMs to gain your CCT. If resources allow you can undertake additional ATSMs, but ATSM Preceptors must ensure all trainees meet the requirements for CCT before offering additional training opportunities to others.

Can I register for more than one ATSM at the same time?

Yes. You can register for two (or even three) ATSMs simultaneously, provided the combined work intensity score is no greater than 3.0.

Can I undertake more than one ATSM concurrently?

Yes. The College recommends that you gather skills concurrently across the ATSMs for which you’ve registered. The work intensity score is designed to prevent you taking on an unachievable workload.

Do I have to attend a particular course as part of an ATSM?

You can supplement your practical ATSM training by attending suitable meetings or courses. Some ATSMs have a mandatory course requirement, which is set out in the ATSM curriculum; for other ATSMs, it is highly recommended that you attend a suitable course. The appropriate theoretical course must have been attended within 3 years of the time of completion of the ATSM. For more information about courses that are appropriate for ATSMs, please read the guidance on ATSM courses.

In exceptional circumstances, it may be that the theoretical course has been completed more than three calendar years prior to the completion date of the ATSM due to less than full time training, maternity leave or sick leave. In such circumstances the educational supervisor for the ATSM should liaise with the regional ATSM preceptor for the LETB/Deanery to ensure that there have not been any significant changes in the theoretical courses for the specific ATSM and then inform the Head of School/Chair of DSTC of the LETB/Deanery. If the Head of School/Chair of DSTC is in agreement with allowing a ‘time expired’ activity based on the information above then RCOG can allow this.

What’s the latest I can register for an ATSM before being awarded my CCT/CESR(CP)?

You need to allow yourself sufficient time to complete two ATSMs in order to obtain your CCT. If you wish to register for a further ATSM close to your predicted CCT/CESR(CP) date, you’ll need to discuss this with your ATSM Director and other trainers to ensure you are still able to complete the necessary competences for your two ATSMs. Also, your deanery’s priority is to ensure all trainees meet the requirements for CCT before offering additional training opportunities to others.

If you are permitted to register for a further ATSM close to your predicted CCT/CESR(CP) date, your CCT/CESR(CP) date won’t be extended.

Can I undertake ATSM training during my period of grace?

Only in exceptional circumstances should you undertake ATSM training during your period of grace. If you would like to do ATSM training in this period, please discuss this with your ATSM Director. The final decision will be made on an individual basis at deanery level, after discussion with the deanery ATSM Director and the Head of the Postgraduate School or the Postgraduate Dean. Your period of grace won’t be extended if you don’t complete the module in time. Also, your deanery’s priority is to ensure all trainees meet the requirements for CCT before offering additional training opportunities to others.

If your request for ATSM training in your period of grace is accepted, you’ll need to register for the ATSM with the RCOG. Please see the information on how to register for an ATSM.

Can I register for ATSMs when I am out of programme (OOP)?

This depends on what type of OOP you are undertaking.

If you are on out of programme experience (OOPE) it is not possible to register for an ATSM. No OOPE should be agreed if the primary purpose of the post is training in the core curriculum or ATSMs as opposed to e.g. IVF or fistula surgery. You may wish to use evidence you have acquired when you recommence training to help sign off competences.

If you are on out of programme training (OOPT) it is possible to register for an ATSM subject to local agreement. You need to follow the usual registration process and submit a completed ATSM registration form to the RCOG. You will have to obtain prospective approval agreed by the GMC and the RCOG for the amount of time to be counted towards training. You need to obtain GMC and RCOG approval before you start your post. Read the RCOG guidance on OOP.

If you are on out of programme research (OOPR) it is possible to register for an ATSM subject to local agreement. You need to follow the usual registration process and submit a completed ATSM registration form to the RCOG. You will have to obtain prospective approval agreed by the GMC and the RCOG for the amount of time to be counted towards training. This is usually a maximum of three months for trainees on OOPR undertaking an ATSM but will be assessed on an individual basis. You need to submit the OOPR application to the RCOG and request that training time is being counted towards CCT. You need to obtain GMC and RCOG approval before you start your post. Read the RCOG guidance on OOP.

Which centres are recognised for the delivery of ATSMs?

ATSMs are designed to be delivered in teaching hospitals and district general hospitals. Some ATSMs (such as abortion care, paediatric and adolescent gynaecology, and advanced laparoscopic surgery for the excision of benign disease) are only available in certain units.

You should discuss your ATSM options with your educational supervisors early on in your training so arrangements can be made for you to complete more specialist ATSMs in specific units.

Who are the Educational Supervisors for my ATSM?

ATSM Educational Supervisors are specialists in a particular field, with experience in trainee assessment and supervision. The Educational Supervisor for your chosen ATSM will need to sign your registration form. Some ATSMs are completed in a single unit with a single Educational Supervisor; others are completed over more than one hospital attachment, so you’ll have two ATSM Educational Supervisors overseeing your training.

To find out who your ATSM Educational Supervisor is, please contact your ATSM Director.

How can other methodologies (OM) be used to facilitate competence sign-off during ATSM training?

Use of other methodologies (OM) is sometimes required to facilitate competence sign-off during ATSM training. OM is not meant to replace exposure to clinical and other direct training opportunities. Read our detailed advice on sign-off via OM

Find out more

If this page doesn’t answer your question, or you want more information, please email the Trainees’ Coordinator or call +44 20 7772 6348

Elsewhere on the site

Assessment of training
Information about sign-off of competencies, workplace-based assessments, ARCPs and more
Resources and support for trainees
Training guidelines, advice, useful resources and sources of support for trainees