Update on FICM activities in light of COVID-19

13 March 2020

Update on FICM activities in light of COVID-19

Firstly, and most importantly, thank you for all you are already doing and will continue to look after our patients during the growing outbreak. The website launched this afternoon, www.icmanaesthesiacovid-19.org, contains ongoing information and support related to the clinical and managerial aspects of managing COVID-19 – the Faculty, the RCoA, the ICS and the AAGBI are all working together to ensure you receive information that is clear and easily accessible.

Secondly, we discussed at our Executive, plans for our future activities, especially those during the predicted peak period – now estimated to run from mid to late April to June. I have summarised this below.

NATIONAL RECRUITMENT

A key thing to iterate at the start of this section, as it is so regularly misunderstood, is that national recruitment for all specialties including ICM is a HEE (acting on behalf of all four nations) and not a FICM activity. We assist in developing the interview structure and supporting interviewers and interviewees, but the final decision on everything from whether recruitment should go ahead to the number of interview slots available (see more below) remains with HEE. We had a further emergency meeting with HEE this morning at which we strongly recommended cancelling the in-person interviews. We arrived at this view reluctantly due to the significant impact this will have on applicants, but it is now felt to be unavoidable due to limitations on leave and infection control. HEE are discussing this at the highest levels with a communication expected shortly with next steps.   

On a related topic – we have had a small number of queries about the use of shortlisting for this year’s recruitment. Whilst we have seen a gradual increase in applications in the last two years (following a dip in 2017), this year we had a sudden and unexpected leap to over 400. Hopefully this is a fantastic new trend for our specialty. This has meant that, for the first time in years we have had to use shortlisting.  HEE allocate from a central pot of recruitment funding and control the number of recruitment days and resources (including the availability of HEE staff) available to each specialty. FICM has previously sought and received an increase from 2 to 3 interview days. For this year, it means we remain limited to the 3 interview days that have been able to serve us for the last 5 years. As always, this remains under review year on year.

FFICM EXAMINATIONS

We have taken the difficult decision to postpone the FICM OSCE/SOE, scheduled for 20–22 April. Please see our separate statement on advice for doctors in training on the new joint website.

EVENTS

We have made the difficult decision to cancel or postpone all our events that are taking place during the peak period.  This therefore impacts:

  • FFICM Preparation Course – 02 & 03 April (Cancelled)
  • ACCP Conference – 04 June (Postponed)
  • Annual Meeting – 15 June (Postponed)

We will be communicating individually with all delegates and speakers regarding next steps.

COMMITTEES

All of our committees during the predicted peak period that were due to take place in person will now move to shorter videoconference meetings to reduce the impact on our committee members without having to delay essential work (such as curriculum preparations).

FICM10 AND OTHER ONGOING ACTIVITIES

We have a lot of activities running, from the Tim Evans essay prizes to advertisements for committees or projects. We will review each activity on a case by case basis, but will likely extend closing dates until after the predicted peak of the outbreak as we appreciate there are many members who will want to be engaging with our work who will be understandably unable to commit the time to this at present.

With best wishes

Alison

Dr Alison Pittard

Dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine