If you are one of the 1,700 ST3 trainees who are completing the new MRCGP assessment this summer it is likely that you will, by now, have got to grips with your ePortfolio, undertaken the workplace-based assessments and passed both the applied knowledge test and the clinical skills assessment.
There is, therefore, only one important step left to complete before you can work as a licensed GP, and that is the certification process.
Since September 2005 there have been two organisations involved in the certificate of completion of training (CCT) certification process - the RCGP and the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB).
The RCGP will evaluate your training, check that it is complete and meets the regulations and will then recommend to PMETB that a CCT should be issued to you. PMETB is the competent authority responsible for licensing GPs in the UK and it will issue your CCT to you and pass your name to the GMC for inclusion in the GP register.
This division of roles and responsibilities is unchanged and it is vital that you continue to make an application to both organisations in order to be included in the GP register.
The process for applying to the RCGP has been streamlined and has now changed radically for anyone who is undertaking the nMRCGP. Those of you who are completing your training programme this summer will now apply for your certificate electronically through your ePortfolio.
Your educational supervisor will submit their final report to the Annual Review of Competency Progression (ARCP) panel electronically and you will be asked to validate this before it is sent.
Once the ARCP panel has considered your training record they will complete a form confirming whether or not you have gained all of the required competences and have completed your training programme. The chair of the panel will sign this electronically and will then send it to you, via the ePortfolio, so that you can do the same.
Signing your ARCP form involves one simple click of a button in the ePortfolio.
Clicking this button will take you automatically to a screen that asks you whether you now wish to apply for a CCT; click the button that says 'Yes' and the application process is complete.
You will only need to submit paperwork to the RCGP's certification unit if you have not yet documented and submitted any VTR forms to record posts begun before August 2007.
It is not necessary to wait until the end of your training programme to do this and I would advise anyone with outstanding paperwork to send it in as quickly as possible.
Your application to the RCGP for a CCT recommendation now only takes three clicks if you are an ePortfolio user.
Please do remember this in the last few weeks of your training, particularly if you are planning a summer holiday, because the application process cannot happen without you 'signing' the ARCP form and electronically submitting your application.
A delay in submitting your application may result in a delay in receiving your certificate and could mean that you cannot practise as soon as your training programme ends.
This will complete the RCGP part of the CCT process but you will still need to apply to PMETB for your certificate and inclusion in the GP register.
The PMETB application process is paper-based and applications can be made six months before the end of your training programme.
If you are registered as an Associate in Training with the RCGP, your PMETB CCT application form will be sent to you by the RCGP certification unit six months before the end of your training programme.
Applicants for a certificate confirming eligibility for GP registration (CEGPR or Article 11 certificate) will need to apply to PMETB for all parts of the certification process and should not apply to the RCGP electronically using the ePortfolio.
If you need any help with applying for a CCT, you can contact the RCGP's certification unit who will be happy to advise you.
Ms Erasmus is head of professional standards at the RCGP
- This topic falls under section 3.6 of the GP curriculum 'Research and Academic Activity', www.rcgp-curriculum.org.uk Learning points
- Apply to PMETB for your CCT up to six months before the end of your training programme.
- Ensure you have submitted all pre-August 2007 paperwork to the RCGP certification unit well in advance of the end of your training programme.
- Check your ePortfolio regularly so you can 'sign' the forms and make your application.
- Summative assessment and CEGPR applicants should seek advice from the RCGP certification unit.
The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of over 35,000 family doctors. It works to encourage and maintain the highest educational, training and clinical standards in order to improve care for our patients.