A Quick Guide to Fast-Tracking (Accelerating Training)
Postgraduate Medical Training is capability/competency based. This means that trainees who have achieved and demonstrated the necessary capabilities and competencies applicable to the relevant level of training may, if they wish, accelerate their training or “fast-track”. This can be done at every level of training.
The RCPCH has mandated minimum lengths of training time for each level:
Level 1 24 months (indicative training time: 36 months)
Level 2 12 months (indicative training time: 24 months)
Level 3 24 months (indicative training time: 36 months)
NB – these numbers are all whole time equivalent
However, time remains important, as in order to develop the necessary capabilities and competencies required at the end of a level or end of the training programme, trainees require adequate exposure to varied clinical scenarios and cases; time to develop the necessary leadership, managerial and other generic skill and crucially, time to develop confidence.
We all learn and develop at different paces. Furthermore, experience gained outside of the training programme maybe a contributory factor. Trainees should therefore not compare their training to their peers. Rather, ongoing and careful self-appraisal in conjunction with educational and clinical supervisors’ feedback should be the basis on which a decision to fast-track is made.
The next step is a careful discussion with their educational supervisor weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of accelerating. While many may feel they have learnt all that they can at a particular level and are ready to move to more senior roles, moving ahead when not properly ready can make the next level unnecessarily challenging. This is particularly true at the level 1 to 2 step and at CCT. You can’t go backwards! While it has a number of drawbacks, being a trainee also brings a lot of opportunities and protection.
It has become apparent that several trainees request fast tracking to bring forward their CCT at the same time when a particular consultant post is being recruited to. This is not likely to work out well! Once a trainee has fast-tracked to CCT they are unlikely to get a ‘Grace period’ post as in RCPCH Guidance.
Those still intending to accelerate their training must then ensure that they are on track to complete the necessary requirements for that level. All the key capabilities and achievements of the learning outcomes in the curriculum must be clearly demonstrated in their e-portfolio by the time of review at an ARCP panel.
To allow for careful consideration of a trainee’s progress and to also facilitate programme management, a minimum notice period of 6 months is required.
The ARCP panel will review the trainee’s ePortfolio and assess whether they can fast-track or not. As always, this is based on evidence in ePortfolio. The CCT date will have to be changed.
Please note that CCT dates and thus confirmation of acceleration of training require an ARCP panel. Until this acceleration is provisional only.
Recommended Steps for accelerating training (Fast-Tracking)
- Discuss with your ES, review your training and agree that you are on track to complete level of training earlier than the usual time frame. Weigh up the pros and cons.
- Notify your programme TPD of your intention to fast-track via email (list on school website). Copy in firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Complete the fast-tracking form and submit it through the trainee portal prior to the date of ARCP panel meeting https://lasepgmdesupport.hee.nhs.uk/support/tickets/new?form_7=true
- Review your ARCP outcome and check your CCT date. If there are any queries regarding your outcome and CCT date, please submit the query through the trainee support portal or contact the ARCP panel chair directly via email.
*Please note that trainees can only fast-track training levels, not training years.
**There may be exceptional cases where trainees may urgently wish to fast track outside the recommended notice period. In such cases, the trainee will need to discuss with the head (or deputy head) of school.