Last reviewed 13 May 2020

In a joint statement from Health Education England (HEE), the British Medical Association (BMA), the General Medical Council (GMC) and the four nations' health education bodies, it has been confirmed that GP trainees are going to be able to complete their training via a "recorded assessment" that will temporarily replace the clinical skills assessment (CSA) exam.

Certificate of completion of training (CCT) for GP trainees without a CSA will be based on a recorded assessment alternative to the existing CSA, which means no one will be disadvantaged based on geography, according to the BMA.

It has been confirmed that the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has now started to work on how this will be delivered.

Those trainees who need to pass the applied knowledge test (AKT) will be able to do so via a socially distanced exam, and there is also work going on to provide an online exam for those shielding.

The COVID-19 outbreak has meant that exams have been cancelled, educational time lost and there has been a fundamental shift from face-to-face to remote consultations, leaving GP trainees unable to revise and prepare for the CSA.

The BMA, RCGP, GMC and the four nation health educational bodies, individually and as a group, have been working together since the cancellation of exams to agree options to address the CCT issue.

According to new guidelines issued by the GMC, from 18 May all doctors on combined training programmes will qualify for a CCT, 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.

A GMC spokesperson said the council has worked within current legislation to simplify its processes for doctors on combined training programmes, as part of a wider review around more flexible postgraduate education and training. It was confirmed: "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."