BriefingBMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7117.3 (Published 08 November 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:S3-7117
The transitionary period for access to the GMC's specialist register draws to a close at the end of the year: from 1 January 1998 the register will only be open to those who have completed training that leads to a certificate of completion of specialist training (CCST).
The situation is straightforward enough for existing consultants: ambiguities arise for those who do not fall into this category. Dr Stephen Watkins, who chairs the BMA's Committee for Public Health Medicine and Community Health recently, wrote to all clinical and senior clinical medical officers advising them, in effect, that it is safer to apply first and ask questions later. The BMA is pressing for an extension to period to the transitional period, and is taking legal advice on whether the Specialist Training Authority's failure to recognise the specialties subsumed within the largely female area of community health is discriminatory. A timely application now could be important if the legal position changes in future.
Meanwhile, the National Associate Specialists Group (NASG) claims that it should be easier for Britain's 1300 associate specialists to be admitted on the register. The NASG's chairman, Mr Hassan Hassan, told Hospital doctor (p1, 9/10/97) said that many associate specialists carry similar clinical responsibilities for patient management as consultants. Despite this, the NASG reports that even the most qualified associate specialists have been required to do a minimum of 30 months' training in order to be eligible for the Specialist Register. The BMA is also pressing for a resolution to the problem: its non-consultant career grades chiarman, Mr Mohib Khan, will continue to press for a new associate specialist contract.