The Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption to Dermatology training. Challenges exist not only for those deployed to the front line or shielding at home, but also for those left in outpatient departments where patterns of work and access to training opportunities have altered dramatically. Anxiety is increasing as the ARCP season approaches, with specific concerns about meeting the number of Workplace Based Assessments required for trainee progression.
It is recognised that the pandemic is an exceptional situation and derogations from the usual ARCP guidelines will be allowed. On 1 May, the JRCPTB has published guidance, summarised here with relevance to Dermatology.
1) ARCPs can be processed remotely by video-conference or telephone, with a minimum of two panel members instead of the usual three.
2) New ARCP outcome codes (10.1 and 10.2) have been created for trainees developing at the expected rate, but whose progress has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Outcome 10.1 can be awarded allowing trainees to progress to the next stage, as overall progress will be assumed to be satisfactory. If however, a trainee is at a critical point in training (eg has outstanding mandatory PYA requirements prior to CCT), further time will be allowed in the training programme with award of outcome 10.2.
3) Where the ARCP has not taken place due to Covid-19, no outcome is recorded and an N code is reported.
4) It is understood opportunities for recording of Workplace Based Assessments will have been significantly reduced (particularly surgical DOPS) during the Covid-19 pandemic. An expectation of approximately 50% of WBAs as defined by the ARCP decision aid can be taken as a guide, but will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
The Dermatology SAC and BAD have circulated a survey to all trainees in attempt to quantify the number redeployed to the front line, as well as understand the wider impact on dermatology training irrespective of placement. This data will help identify common gaps in training with a view to provide effective and comprehensive support during the pandemic and throughout the recovery phase.
During trying times, it seems creative grass-roots teaching opportunities have flourished, and sharing good practice is important in order to benefit the wider trainee membership. To this end, the local fortnightly teaching led by Ian Coulson, known as Coulson's COVID Contingency Cutaneous Colloquium, is now recorded and will be made available to all trainees. Those interested should contact Chris Garrett at ChristopherG@bad.org.uk who will then provide access to the video lectures. Development of further on-line resources is underway, many thanks to those Clinical Leads and TPDs who have highlighted on-going educational activity which may be disseminated in the future. For those who feel particularly inspired, please share any ideas you may have about training opportunities with the BAD Education Board by emailing Louisa@bad.org.uk.