On Tuesday 13 September, it was announced that the RCOG PART 1 exam due to take place in UK exam centres on Monday 19 September had been postponed, affecting 77 UK candidates. The BMA has been in close contact with the RCOG to seek possible alternatives to the current situation that will help minimise the disruption for those doctors due to take the examination in the UK.
Following engagement with the BMA, the RCOG announced a package of support and reimbursement for impacted candidates:
- Pearson VUE have extended the guaranteed spaces in Europe to RCOG candidates until the end of Friday 16 September
- RCOG have offered all candidates travelling to an overseas centre up to £300 reimbursement of travel and accommodation costs
- RCOG have offered any candidates who have not been able to recoup booked travel expenses to attend the now cancelled examination on Monday, to refund these expenses up to the value of £300. All impacted candidates will also be gifted a free place on the December 2022 Part 1 revision course ahead of their rescheduled exam.
The BMA welcomes the reimbursement package, which is a positive step by RCOG. But, we call on RCOG to go further by:
- reimbursing all reasonable travel and accommodation expenses for candidates travelling to take the exam at an international centre
- covering exam entry fees for all impacted candidates, whether they take the examination on Monday at a non-UK location or on the rescheduled date in January.
The postponement of the UK-based examination is a huge blow for these doctors who have invested large amounts of time and energy preparing, putting lives and family on hold. The BMA recognises that the number of candidates who will be able to take up a short notice place at an international centre will be limited. Those who cannot take up this offer now face a 4-month wait for the rescheduled exam in January. The BMA continues to call on RCOG to do everything possible to deliver a supplementary sitting for affected candidates at the earliest opportunity.
The 77 UK candidates impacted by the decision by Pearson Vue to close test centres on the day of the Queen’s funeral are part of a cohort of over 800 O&G doctors preparing to sit the exam in more than 40 countries around the world on Monday. The decision by Pearson Vue to close its UK test centres, along with the decision by RCOG to proceed with the exam outside the UK, means UK based candidates are being disadvantaged in comparison to their international counterparts as a result of the postponement.
The BMA has been in direct contact with RCOG since the announcement. In addition to the support and reimbursement package announced on Friday 16 September, the RCOG has assured BMA that:
- they have been in ongoing contact with the impacted candidates and are providing ongoing support around options and impact
- they are in contact with impacted candidates and heads of school to ascertain whether the current delay would impact on progression for any candidates. They do not believe this to be the case, but have developed a contingency plan if this situation arises.
- Every opportunity for proceeding with a UK-based examination on Monday 19 September was being exhausted.
You can read more on the steps taken by RCOG in the statement on their website, including the efforts taken to proceed with the examination on Monday 19 September.
The BMA will continue to engage with the RCOG to ensure that all options are being fully considered to minimise the disruption for those doctors affected, and that appropriate tailored support is provided to each doctor taking into account their own personal circumstances.
Get in touch
If you are an impacted candidate and have not received any of the information above, please contact RCOG directly ([email protected]) or alternatively affected BMA members can get in touch with the BMA.
The BMA offers free and confidential 24/7 counselling and peer support services to all doctors and medical students (regardless of BMA membership), plus their partners and dependents, on 0330 123 1245. There is always someone you can talk to.