The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, along with the Statutory Education Bodies in all four nations, recognise the huge pressures on the NHS in these difficult times and that healthcare professionals have worked tirelessly to ensure that the best possible care continues to be delivered to our patients.
However, this depends on clinicians continuing to develop and learn through the required education and training. The Academy has been in discussion with the Statutory Education and the GMC about how doctors and other NHS clinical staff can continue with that education and training whilst meeting the massive service demands from COVID-19 and current backlog of work.
Essential professional examinations or compulsory training events set by registered professional bodies are a requisite part of the professional education and development to enable clinicians to improve and develop the quality of care they give to patients. These required activities therefore need to be prioritised alongside direct clinical care.
We recognise the requirements of national and local lockdown advice regarding COVID-19 and reiterate the need for all healthcare professionals to take the necessary precautions and social distancing in line with national guidance. Nonetheless, attendance at and necessary travel to essential educational events should be treated in the same way as undertaking direct clinical care in terms of the requirements of COVID-19 guidance.
It is, of course, not possible to predict future national requirements or local mandatory restrictions in respect of COVID-19 and education events will need to follow any compulsory guidelines.