Doctors studying in the UK under the combined training programmes will from this month be awarded with a CCT rather than a CESR-CP (certificate of eligibility for specialist registration combined programme).
The change, which will take effect from 18 May, will also be applied retrospectively as well as to those doctors in training.
While the CCT and CESR-CP certificates provide doctors with equal entitlement in law to accessing specialist or GP registers within the UK, many doctors without the CCT feel that their qualification is not as valued by employers.
Additionally, while the professional qualifications of doctors with CCTs are automatically recognised across the European Economic Area, the same is not always true for doctors with a CESR-CP, a fact that has been acknowledged by GMC chief executive Charlie Massey.
BMA junior doctors committee chair Sarah Hallett (pictured) applauded the decision saying it would provide equality and flexibility to trainees of the kind the BMA had long been calling for.
She said: ‘The BMA junior doctors committee welcomes GMC confirmation that doctors who complete the CESR-CP will from now on, instead, receive a CCT.
‘Following years of lobbying from the JDC for increased flexibility in training pathways, this represents a significant step forwards in recognising alternative training routes, and valuing experience gained out with formal training programmes.
‘This will also be offered retrospectively for those who have already completed a CESR-CP.’
According to new guidelines issued by the GMC, all doctors on combined training programmes will qualify for a CCT from 18 May, provided they have completed the minimum amount of time in training for their particular specialty.
Doctors who already hold CESR-CP will also be able to apply to the GMC to be retrospectively granted a CCT.
Following an application, the GMC will contact the doctor’s college for information confirming they have met the minimum required training, with the GMC covering the costs of providing this information.
Speaking about the decision, a GMC spokesperson said: ‘As part of a wider review around more flexible postgraduate education and training, we have worked within our current legislation to simplify our processes for doctors on combined training programmes.
‘This allows doctors who have trained via this route in the UK, for the amount of time required under EU legislation, to be awarded a CCT.
‘We recognise that a CCT can be seen as a more portable qualification outside the UK, but we are clear that there is equal value between a CESR-CP and a CCT.
‘Doctors on the combined programme who haven’t completed the required UK training time and those who have gained their CESR-CP by other routes will continue to be afforded the same professional recognition within the UK.’