The sitting scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday) will now not take place, and the college has contacted all candidates due to sit the CSA between 19 and 28 March to tell them their exam has been cancelled. Trainees have been told not to travel to London.
The RCGP said that it had been committed to running the exams for as long as it could in order 'to help as many trainees as possible to complete their training'. However, it added that 'the situation has now changed dramatically'.
'The government has advised against any non-essential travel, and trainees and examiners are finding it harder to leave their practices, while those with underlying health conditions have been advised to exercise caution and may decide to self-isolate,' a statement from the college said.
The RCGP said that it was unable to provide dates of when rescheduled CSAs would take place, but that any fees paid by candidates will be carried over to the new exam date. Rescheduled exams will not take place until the college feels they can be run 'safely and reliably'.
'We are sorry for the inconvenience or anxiety that this causes but we are working in a difficult and changing situation,' the college statement added. 'All of our examiners are working GPs, and many are trainers, and they are also working hard to make sure that their practices and patients are supported, as well as committing time to run the examination.'
The RCGP intends to publish a full set out FAQs for GP trainees on its website shortly.
Yesterday GPonline reported that all planned rotations of junior doctors, including GP trainees, have been suspended as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The next planned rotation of postgraduate medical trainees was due to take place on 1 April and would have involved in excess of 20,000 doctors across the UK moving into new posts. However, UK medical education boards and the GMC have asked trainees to stay in their current placements, in a bid to ‘manage anticipated workload pressures’ as a result of the coronavirus outbreaks.
Junior doctors were told that the move 'should not prevent them from completing their curriculum'.