COVID-19 - potential impacts to pain medicine training

COVID-19 has altered the day-to-day running of our multidisciplinary pain medicine units with the extent and duration of the situation uncertain. The faculty is conscious of the implication on our trainees and fellows and will continue to update its advice over the coming months. 

We recognise that some units may face closures, some will cut back services and a number of our trainees and fellows will be redeployed during the COVID-19 outbreak

The guidance provided in the table below will be reviewed and updated as the situation requires. 



If training units close or decrease their workload then:          
  • The supervisor of training (SOT) and the trainee need to inform the faculty. If clinic workload decreases, the degree by which it is decreased should be recorded and the faculty notified. 

  • ​Trainees must maintain a weekly log book of their pain medicine-related clinical and non-clinical time. SOTs will need to verify this and the log book needs to be submitted with each in-training assessment for the faculty to approve the accrued experience. 

  • Telehealth, tutorials, and acute pain can all be accrued towards pain medicine training. 

  • Applications for variations in training and exceptions will be considered by the faculty

  • Local long cases can go ahead if the unit feels it is appropriate and local COVID-19 guidance is followed.

  • The external long case assessment can run regionally provided that the units comply with the COVID-19 guidelines.

  • The written section of the fellowship examination has been delayed. Advice around the new date will be circulated once finalised.

  • The oral section of the fellowship exam has been delayed until early 2021 and will be held via videoconference.

  • ​We encourage trainees who are unsure about taking their examination this year to seek guidance from your supervisor and/or mentor. 

  • Plans for delivery of assessments may need to be altered at a later date depending on the situation

Application dates for 2020 examinations:

  • Applications for the external long-case assessment have closed.

  • Fellowship examination: Application opening shortly.

  • ​To be eligible for the fellowship exam, trainees must have completed two satisfactory In-Training Assessments (ITAs) by the examination closing date and submitted an application and paid the examination fee by the closing date.

Workplace-based progressive feedback (WBPF):
  • WBPFs should be performed relative to the volume of practice that the trainee is performing. The faculty understands that there might need to be greater flexibility than usual and that this is an evolving area. WBPFs can be done via telehealth. If you are having difficulty meeting this standard, please contact the faculty.

General physical examination assessment (GPEA)
  • Trainees may not be able to complete the GPEA within the first 11 weeks of training if their clinic is not seeing patients face-to-face. If this is the case please, note this in your first in-training assessment (ITA) and the general physical examination can be completed during the ITA period after your clinic starts seeing patients face-to-face again. 

Accreditation of units:
  • Accreditation visits are suspended and will resume when the current situation is considered stable.

  • Units that are awaiting accreditation will be considered by the faculty as accredited units until the faculty is able to arrange an on-site visit.

  • If units knowingly deviate from faculty standards, particularly around full-time equivalent, they should inform the faculty.

  • The faculty understands that recruitment during this time will be challenging. 

Education resources and support:
  • The Clinical Formulation webinar will be held on 5 August with the new guidance document available on Networks.

  • Training units are encouraged to continue tutorials via online delivery methods.

  • A Supervisor of Training (SoT) Workshop will be held via Zoom on Wednesday 23 September 2020.

For advice around your particular situation, please contact us

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Last updated 14:23 24.07.2020