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Developing physicians

Our education and training programmes support physicians to fulfil their potential. We develop doctors to deliver the best possible patient care and become excellent clinicians.

Our work in numbers

Our key achievements

To support the huge move to online events and learning, we launched our new streaming service in 2020. RCP Player swiftly became a go-to platform for webinars and virtual lectures with over 10,000 people tuning in to our digital events. Due to COVID-19, we transformed our Medicine 2020 annual conference planned for April into an extremely successful virtual event at the beginning of 2021.

RCP OnlineEd, our new platform for online learning, also launched successfully and over 8,000 users accessed our courses in 2020. New courses included Delegating under pressure and bite-sized introductions to leadership. We redesigned our longer courses, such as MSc degrees, the Chief Registrar and Emerging Women Leaders programmes for delivery in virtual classrooms.

We transformed our Medicine 2020 annual conference planned for April into an extremely successful virtual event at the beginning of 2021

We also produced 15 new RCP Medicine podcasts which received over 36,000 downloads. A special bundle of episodes focused on COVID-19 to support physicians throughout the pandemic.

Due to the pandemic, all RCP exams ceased in March. Our major exams were redesigned to enable clinicians to take them at the appropriate career stages. Exams then restarted in September. This was particularly important for the Physician Associate National Examinations, which permit entry to the Managed Voluntary Register and to become part of the PA workforce. We worked at pace to adapt the exams to be delivered in a COVID-safe way, including social distancing, PPE and other vital adjustments. Thanks to these adaptations, 655 new physician associates entered the workforce in 2020.

We worked at pace to adapt the exams to be delivered in a COVID-safe way, including social distancing, PPE and other vital adjustments

Burnout, work-related stress and mental illness are increasingly recognised within the physician workforce. At the beginning of 2020 we launched a new mental health and wellbeing resource to support doctors, who often find it difficult to seek help. It focuses on the impact of mental health issues and where to seek support. As the pandemic took hold, the resource became even more relevant and we actively encouraged our members to remain aware of their wellbeing during extremely challenging times. And in collaboration with Maudsley Learning, we launched an online course for clinical leaders to support the mental wellbeing of their teams.

We produced a new video resource to support the massive move to online consultations, which were unfamiliar to many. Effective remote consultations was accessed almost 900 times in the first few days following launch.

At the end of 2020, 57 trainee physicians were participating in the pilot flexible portfolio training programme, combining their usual clinical training with 1 day per week dedicated to development in a complementary field such as clinical informatics, quality improvement or research. This joint initiative with Health Education England aims to address the shortfall of medical registrars in difficult to recruit to specialties and areas.

The first cohort of our unique Springboard to Leadership: supporting diversity programme joined in 2020. The programme supports the development of clinicians from diverse groups who may be underrepresented in healthcare leadership positions, and those who want to support equality, diversity and inclusion within their organisation.

We concluded delivery of the Medical Training and Fellowship Programme, a 5-year capacity-building programme to reduce the burden of cancer and neurological disorders in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. Over 5,000 healthcare professionals are estimated to have benefited from the programme, which provided training to 550 doctors and upskilled 58 oncology trainers to teach others.

The Medical Training Initiative (MTI) supports doctors from low- and middle-income countries to come to the UK for short-term (typically 2-year) training experience within the NHS. The RCP supported 300 MTI doctors within the NHS throughout the year through regularly changing regulations on visa extensions, international travel, quarantine requirements, delays to appointments and requirements to return to their home countries to support their COVID-19 response.

We supported our partners the East, Central and Southern Africa College of Physicians in the delivery of their first postgraduate examinations, their virtual conference and with training for clinical supervisors across the region.

As a way of supporting them during the pandemic, we gave trainees who completed core training 12 months free ePortfolio access to continue with recording their evidence and obtaining the required competencies.