Updated 6 April 2020

As a consequence of the ongoing global COVID-19 situation, the Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK has taken the extremely difficult but necessary decision to cancel all MRCP(UK) examinations in the UK and internationally from Monday 16 March until September 2020.

The Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK was established to support the education and training of physicians. We know that at this current time the uncertainties about what will happen around exams and training are causing considerable anxiety. We are working to provide clear positions on all aspects between ourselves and the training systems in the UK. Trainee welfare is very important to us and we hope that the following document provides clarity at an uncertain time and will allow trainees to plan for the coming months. Given the rapidly changing nature of things, though, even this advice may need to change.

Examinations affected:

PACES: All MRCP(UK) clinical examinations (PACES) at UK and international centres that were due to run from today Monday 16 March onwards have been cancelled until September 2020. We are aiming to restart PACES in September and Fast Track candidates will be treated as a priority.

As a consequence of these cancellations, introduction of the new PACES 2020 examination will be delayed until 2021.

Part 1: The 2020/2 diet of the Part 1 written examination due to take place on 12 May 2020 in the UK and internationally has been cancelled.

Part 2: The 2020/1 diet of the Part 2 written examination due to take place on 24 March 2020 in the UK and internationally has been cancelled.

The 2020/2 diet of the Part 2 written examination due to take place on 14 July 2020 has also been cancelled.

Specialty Certificate Examinations (SCEs):  The SCEs due to take place between now and the beginning of September 2020 have been cancelled.

Part 2: The 2020/1 diet of the Part 2 written examination due to take place on 24 March 2020 in the UK and internationally has been cancelled.

The 2020/2 diet of the Part 2 written examination due to take place on 14 July 2020 has also been cancelled. We will be prioritising spaces for affected candidates at the next available examination diet where possible.

Specialty Certificate Examinations (SCEs):  The SCEs due to take place between now and the beginning of September 2020 have been cancelled.

The Federation recognises the impact these cancellations will have for the many candidates who sit the MRCP(UK) examinations around the world. We find ourselves in extraordinary times and have had to make this decision in the interests of safety for all involved – patients, surrogates, centre administrators, candidates and examiners.

All UK PACES candidates due a refund have either been refunded or are in the process of being refunded.

We will transfer all other affected candidates into the next available examination diet. However, if you would prefer to receive a refund and then reapply please contact us. Unfortunately, travel expenses incurred by candidates cannot be reimbursed.

We would strongly recommend that candidates keep monitoring the website for further updates as the situation continues to develop.

For candidates who are currently in UK training programmes and are required to pass MRCP(UK) examinations in order to progress please see the latest guidance on the JRCPTB website.

Delays to issuing PACES results and MRCP(UK) Diplomas

Due to the UK government’s guidance that was announced on 23 March against all but essential travel due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there will unfortunately be a delay to the uploading of PACES results to candidates ‘MyMRCP’ online accounts as the process requires our staff to physically scan results into equipment based in the offices.

Additionally, we regretfully advise that for similar reasons this will also impact on the issuing of MRCP(UK) diplomas by the three Royal Colleges of Physicians and the Federation to candidates. In the interim, we will continue to process forms of faith and candidates can request a verification letter which we are able to produce without the need for staff to access offices. Please email the relevant Royal College, including your RCP code or GMC number, to request this.

We understand that these delays will be of concern to many candidates. We are duty bound to adhere to these latest instructions and ensure the safety of our staff, their families and the wider public. We will continue to monitor UK government advice and will respond should the situation change to enable the uploading of PACES results and to issue MRCP(UK) diplomas as soon as is possible.

For candidates in UK training programmes, JRCPTB has produced guidance on recognition of training progression here.

 

Extension of eligibility period during COVID-19 restrictions

The Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK understands that the decision to cancel all forthcoming examinations will have an impact on many candidates’ plans for completing the MRCP(UK) diploma.

To ensure that candidates will have an opportunity to complete MRCP(UK), the Federation has taken the decision to relax the current rules around the seven-year eligibility period. All candidates whose seven-year eligibility period was due to end in 2020 will automatically have this extended until 31 December 2021; these candidates will therefore have one additional year to complete MRCP(UK).

Details of the normal eligibility period are outlined in paragraph 3.5 (page 5) of the MRCP(UK) regulations.

Candidates who have had six attempts at any part of the MRCP(UK) (Part 1, Part 2 Written, PACES) will still need to follow the limit on attempts procedure outlined when applying for a future diet of the examination.

Full information is available on the MRCPUK website