At this time of year I frequently get asked to assist doctors in relation to the ARCP, or Annual Review of Competence Progression, process – most commonly doctors wishing to appeal negative ARCP outcomes.
Below is a brief overview of the ARCP process and appeal routes available to doctors who, for whatever reason, are not deemed to have made adequate progress.
The Foundation Training ARCP Process
Foundation Training is governed by ‘The UK Foundation Programme Curriculum’. Each F1 and F2 doctor has their evidence (primarily in the form of an e-portfolio) reviewed by an ARCP Panel on an annual basis. The Panel then completes an outcome form which sets out the details of the review and records an ARCP outcome. The possible outcomes are numbered and include:
* Outcome 1 – satisfactory completion of F1;
* Outcome 6 – satisfactory completion of F2;
* Outcome 3 – inadequate progress (additional training time required);
* Outcome 4 – released from training programme.
The Specialty Training ARCP Process
Specialty Training is governed by ‘The Gold Guide’, also known as ‘A Reference Guide for Postgraduate Specialty Training in the UK’. As with FY doctors, specialty trainees have their evidence reviewed by an ARCP Panel on an annual basis and the Panel completes a form recording the review and an ARCP outcome. Again, the possible outcomes are numbered and include:
* Outcome 1 – achieving progress and competencies at the expected rate;
* Outcome 6 – gained all required competencies;
* Outcome 2 – development of specific competencies required – additional training time not required;
* Outcome 4 – released from training programme with or without specified competencies.
Both Outcome 3 (additional training time required) and Outcome 4 (released from training programme) decisions can be appealed, although the rules are different at Foundation Training and Specialty Training levels.
For example, appeals by F1 and F2 doctors can only proceed if the Postgraduate Dean agrees that there are sufficient grounds for an appeal. In contrast, a specialty trainee doctor does not require any such agreement and The Gold Guide advises Deaneries to presume that Outcome 3 and Outcome 4 decisions at this level will be appealed.
In either case, the deadline to lodge an appeal is just ten working days from receipt of the ARCP Panel’s decision, so it’s important to act promptly. Appeals can be advanced on a wide range of grounds including adverse health, failures by the Deanery or procedural impropriety. The importance of an adverse ARCP Outcome can’t be overstated – an Outcome 3 will impact a doctor’s career progression, whilst an Outcome 4 is potentially career ending.
I have dealt with (and won) ARCP appeals before many Deaneries, or Local Education & Training Boards as they’ve been known since 1 April 2013. If you need advice in relation to an ARCP appeal, or any of the issues mentioned here, please feel free to contact me.