The Banner for COVID-19
The College’s highest priority is to ensure the health and safety of our members, staff and patients. Radiologists and radiation oncologists are a precious health resource and will be critical in fighting the epidemic and supporting the health system. The College will support governments’ containment efforts in minimising the spread and flattening the disease curve over time.
This page contains further advice and information for members about the impact of COVID-19 on CPD, education and training, events and other College activities.
Events: Annual Scientific Meeting CPD: Advice from the MCNZ | Advice from the MBA | What does this mean for members? Education and Training: Guidelines for decision-making | FAQs
Last updated 8 May 2020
The 2020 RANZCR Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) was scheduled to run from 15-18 October at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Based on guidelines provided by the government, the College's COVID-19 Taskforce’s recommendations and in consultation with the ASM Convenors, the College Board has made the difficult decision to postpone the RANZCR 2020 ASM.
This has been done bearing in mind that social distancing restrictions may continue well into the end of 2020 with strict restrictions on international travel as well as mass gatherings. The College is also aware that a surge of patients is expected at health facilities from those patients who have delayed seeking treatment during the quarantine period and this may impact on our members and their ability to take leave and join the ASM.
Information for those who submitted abstracts:
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, both the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) and the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) have acknowledged that that COVID-19 work will impact on the ability of all doctors to maintain CPD requirements in the coming months:
The MBA released an update to Australian members on 30 March 2020.
The MBA acknowledged that COVID-19 work will impact on the ability of all doctors to maintain CPD requirements in the coming months. They have decided to not take action if you cannot meet the CPD registration standard when you renew your medical registration this year.
As we move into 2021, the MBA will keep a close watch on the situation to determine whether the 2021 renewal year is affected. The College will work with the MBA on a strategy to resume CPD requirements and associated audit activity.
Read the full update
MCNZ shared an update to all practising doctors in New Zealand on 26 March 2020.
The MCNZ acknowledged that COVID-19 work will impact on the ability of all doctors to fully meet the recertification programme requirements in the coming months. They have decided to exempt all General and vocationally-registered doctors from recertification programme requirements until 28 February 2021.
Similarly, doctors with general or vocational registration who returned to practice from 25 March 2020, will not be required to enrol in the Inpractice or College programme until that date.
MCNZ staff will not be auditing doctors for compliance with recertification programmes over the coming 11 months, but will expect doctors to be enrolled and actively participating in their required programmes from 1 March 2021. As we move closer to 28 February 2021, the College will work with MCNZ on a strategy to resume recertification programmes and associated audit activity.
The College will support members by applying the following reduced CPD program requirements. The reduced requirements are in line with those previously communicated by the MCNZ. The College will work closely with the MBA to ensure members are supported during this period. The College’s current CPD program operates on a triennium basis, with 2020 being the middle year of the 2019-2021 triennium.
The College will not be conducting its annual compliance audit on CPD for 2020.
Revised RANZCR CPD Requirement
Whilst we recognise there is disruption or cancellation of many educational events scheduled in 2020, we encourage members that if you are undertaking any type of CPD activities, you are still able to log these in the learning portal and they will still count toward your triennium total.
Some examples include web-based learning, participation in clinical meetings, teaching, journal reading and research, to name a few.
RANZCR audits compliance of CPD on a calendar year basis as well as on a triennium basis. We are in the final stage of compliance checking for CPD completed during the 2019 calendar year and are currently contacting members to assist with this process. We understand this is a busy time for members and College staff can assist this process by inputting documentation on behalf of members.
Last updated: Monday 30 March 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many facets of the RANZCR's training programs and is expected to continue to do so for some time.
Below we set out the overarching priorities, principles and strategies to guide decision-making on training and accreditation, assessments, examinations and other training activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in its aftermath.
The College will regularly review and revise
, particularly the stipulated timeframes, in line with government advice and the status of the COVID-19 situation in our region.
In developing this guidance, RANZCR has sought to:
Last updated: Friday 8 May 2020
The content below aims to provide information to College trainees, examination candidates, Directors of Training, Network Training Directors and training sites during the COVID-19 pandemic. The College recognises that COVID-19 will impact on many facets of training and is currently identifying risks and working to address real or potential impacts.
The RANZCR Board has approved the formation of a COVID-19 College Taskforce. The role of the taskforce is to coordinate a whole-of-College response to the COVID-19 pandemic which mitigates effectively the risks to the College, members and staff. The taskforce aims to ensure that the College’s response encompasses the key precautions, information and professional support our staff, members and patients expect.
Where necessary, the taskforce will consult and collaborate with College office bearers, committees and groups.
All decisions made by the taskforce need to be ratified by the Board, which has ultimate responsibility for decision-making.
The College’s overall approach is to act in accordance with government advice and efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Australia and New Zealand. The College’s highest priority is to ensure the health and safety of our members and their patients.
The COVID-19 pandemic will have many impacts on trainees, including their ability to fulfil training requirements, complete work-based and other assessments, and successfully complete their exams.
The College is working to address a myriad of issues as they arise, and it assures all trainees and trainers that we are looking to make accommodations and allow flexibility in the training programs to optimise trainee safety and wellbeing.
We encourage TNDs/NTDs and DoTs to communicate with local authorities, remain up to date regarding jurisdictional responses, be aware of local support services and communicate freely and frequently with trainees.
Participation in clinical meetings and MDMs is an important part of clinical radiology and radiation oncology experience and training. As meetings are moved to videoconferencing platforms it is important for trainees to continue participation, within the workforce and workload limitations of their site. Normal supervision requirements apply and trainees should not be running meetings without consultant participation, particularly where clinical decisions are made.
The Department of Health recognises that there is the possibility of trainees in STP funded rotations being redeployed within their health services to support the medical response to COVID-19. This may mean disruptions that potentially impact the continuity of specialty training more broadly. In recognition of this, the Department will ensure continued support to colleges and those trainees and health services currently involved in STP funded specialty training.
The Department understands that the situation is changing very rapidly with Colleges following the national guidance very closely and actively supporting the response. As part of the measures to combat COVID-19, trainees may be redeployed to areas potentially outside the usual scope of practice; the nature of some posts may change in this period, with a shift towards more critical work. This is an unprecedented situation and the Department fully acknowledge that this will affect everyone in some way.
The Department supports the continued delivery of structured training rotations where this can be maintained; recognising continuity and capacity of health service provision, in particular for rural communities. Should the response to COVID-19 require it, the redeployment of any specialist medical trainee away from a rural health service must be carefully considered to ensure rural health services are not disadvantaged.
These are temporary measures for the STP, IRTP and Tasmanian Project that are strictly only applicable during the current COVID-19 health crisis. The Department will continue to monitor the situation for emerging issues that may impact specialist medical colleges and training.
STP funding will proceed as business as usual under the 2020 funding agreement. The College will continue to liaise with participating sites on the impacts of COVID-19 to training and will be required to submit a record to the Department in line with the twice yearly performance reporting periods.
The RANZR Board has cancelled all examinations in Series 1 2020, except for the radiation oncology Phase 2 written examinations, which were sat on 10-11 February 2020. The Board did not take this decision lightly. The College understands that this will be disappointing for all those who have worked hard to prepare for their exams, but the need to prioritise the health and safety of all our members, staff and patients is paramount.
The College sought to organise local Part 2 examinations for clinical radiology candidates in Auckland and Perth, and an alternative venue for radiation oncology, but unfortunately, for various reasons, these efforts were not successful.
The written examinations for clinical radiology are more than a 'pen and paper' exam. The e-film exam requires the use of the College’s electronic platform so candidates can view standardised exam cases via a web-based application. This requires a College staff member familiar with the system to load and set up the exam, as well as manage contingencies such as disruptions and time management. This was our intention for the Auckland and Perth sittings, but staff are currently unable to travel easily within Australia, and between Australia and New Zealand, due to quarantine restrictions. The examination venues in Auckland and Perth have not run e-film before, so no one sufficiently experienced with the system was available locally at short notice.
Suggestions to run an exam for a reduced number of candidates in a single jurisdiction would have affected the validity of the exam and created new issues. The College had one exam prepared which we were unable to run in Australia due to the need for social distancing and the risk to health services if all participants had required quarantining for 14 days.
The viva examination for radiation oncology requires examiners to be present to participate in the examination. Travel restrictions and cancellation of leave for some clinicians at several hospitals made it impossible to run this examination.
The College has agreed to refund examination fees for Series 1 2020 clinical radiology Part 1 and Part 2 examinations, which we believe is the most efficient way to address the issue. The College expects the refunds to be completed by the end of April.The College will refund the examination fee for the Series 1 2020 radiation oncology Phase 2 viva examination component, as candidates have already sat the written components of the exam. Thank you in advance.
This has not yet been decided. As the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia and New Zealand is evolving rapidly, decision-making at this time is advisedly risk-averse. The College is in close communication with other medical specialty colleges regarding examination management strategies. The College will give all candidates a minimum of three months' notice prior to any examination being held. It may be that changes are needed in the running of an exam and the exam format to accommodate a larger-than-usual cohort, but we will endeavour not to change the exam content.
Leave arrangements are determined by the local jurisdictions but the College is well aware of the impact of potential leave suspensions on both examinations and educational activities.
The College Board has made the very difficult decision to postpone the RANZCR 2020 ASM, and we understand this will be disappointing to you. If you have submitted abstracts to the ASM and are immediately affected, please submit a Consideration of Special Circumstances request. All submissions will be dealt with in accordance with recommendations from Education and Training Committee, designed to ensure that unavoidable project presentation delays do not impact on trainee progression.
We are aware that some medical colleges have decided to suspend training. These are colleges with more skills-based training programs than ours. The College is seeking to facilitate trainees' progress as far as possible, recognising that some trainees will have their training time extended due to examination deferments. All trainees will be permitted up to 12 months additional training time if required, and the College will work with the various jurisdictions to facilitate this, recognising that similar concessions will be needed in the training programs for many medical specialties.
The College recognises that training activities in many networks and sites have been suspended to comply with requirements around social distancing and limits on gatherings, and also to allow sites to focus on their clinical service responsibilities. We ask that networks and sites communicate such changes to the College and, where possible, explore alternative options for the provision of education. The COVID-19 Taskforce will continue to monitor the situation.
The College understands that there may be significant changes to training activities during this period. If a change affects your ability to fulfil training requirements, and the circumstances of the change are beyond your control, please submit an application for Consideration of Special Circumstances. The College will address applications promptly, and record them in training portfolios.
If you believe that your current circumstances will affect your ability to effectively meet the outcomes of your remediation in training plan within the timeframe outlined in your plan, you must liaise with your DoTs/any other person responsible for monitoring and oversight of completion of the remediation plan and discuss possible alternate measures.
Once this has taken place, you must contact the College to advise of any variation to the remediation plan. Such variations will be sent to the Chief Censors and/or the relevant education and training committees for approval.
We recognise that local employer, jurisdictional and personal issues will affect training and progression of each trainee in a unique way. Due to the many uncertainties and disruptions, real and potential, to training, it is difficult for the College to anticipate every circumstance which may arise.
To enable each trainee’s circumstances to be properly supported and understood, the College will manage all variations to the trainee’s progression requirements through the College’s ‘Consideration of Special Circumstances’ Policy. If a circumstance arises that is outside your control and which you believe has affected your ability to fulfil training requirements, it is recommended that you submit an application for Consideration of Special Circumstances.
This will enable the trainee to keep a record of their experience and will allow the College to manage trainee progression in an individualised and nuanced way. We are considering methods to streamline this process for both trainees and DoTs.
The College will work collaboratively with individual training sites such that any impacted trainee must be able to remain in accredited training positions to complete their training requirements. There will be trainees across all medical specialty training programs who have training disrupted by COVID-19 who may require extensions to training time.
In line with the College’s Interrupted and Part-Time Training Policy, non-consecutive leave periods of 10 weeks or greater over a 12 month period (pro rata for shorter periods) are taken to constitute interrupted training time. Any time in excess of the allowable 10 weeks of leave per 12 month period (pro rata for shorter periods) may be unaccredited. Any trainee who is required to take in excess of this period of leave in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic should submit a request for Consideration of Special Circumstances to the College, and we would recommend the trainee submits supporting documentation from their DoT.
No. Trainees are required to successfully complete all training and assessment requirements in an accredited training position and be granted RANZCR Fellowship prior to commencing a Fellowship position.
As outlined in the College’s overarching priorities, principles and strategies to guide decision-making on training, the College does recognise the impacts of changes to the training environment on the ability of trainees to fulfil their training requirements, and will not penalise trainees if they are unable to meet training requirements with prescribed timeframes, for a period of at least six months.
The College will not be reducing the overall requirements of work-based-assessments like Mini-CEX, Case Reports and Practical Oncology Experience etc (for radiation oncology), or IPX, DOPS, and Experiential Training Requirement etc. (for clinical radiology), to match the amount of time that training has been disrupted. The College will extend the timeframe for trainees to complete the training requirements. Trainees need to individually apply for consideration of special circumstances if a circumstance arises that is outside their control and which they believe has affected their ability to fulfil training requirements. This will ensure that the College can be responsive to the unique circumstances of each trainee.
Medical Colleges across Australia and New Zealand are aligned in their desire to maintain training standards and requirements throughout the period of the pandemic. This matter is a significant decision and may be reviewed by the College’s Board of Directors in the future with reference to factors such as the duration of the pandemic disruption and the requirement to maintain educational standards.
It has been determined that clinical radiology and radiation oncology training sites and trainees should have the opportunity to work remotely, subject to the following criteria:
Additionally, for clinical radiology trainees, the following is required:
Permission for remote working arrangements is granted for a limited time only and this will be reviewed at the end of May 2020.
As much as possible, trainees are to continue with rotations in accordance with government guidelines regarding interstate travel during the pandemic.
Networks may need to alter rotations based on local and jurisdictional needs and requirements, and we ask that any roster alteration that may affect a trainee's ability to fulfil training requirements be notified to the College by the NTD/TND. This will be taken into consideration when considering a trainee's capacity to fulfil network rotation requirements. If alterations to training rotations affect your ability to fulfil network training or experiential training requirements, please submit an application for Consideration of Special Circumstances.
The College is aware of the impact that prolonged training will have on the number of trainees achieving Fellowship, and knock-on effects for the workforce and recruitment.
Networks will need to make recruitment decisions individually, depending on expected numbers of trainees completing their training in 2020. Recruitment processes are likely to be disrupted due to travel and social gathering restrictions, and networks may need to consider delaying recruitment and the use of alternative online methods for interviewing.
You will retain your current opportunity number and this will be carried over to the next available sitting of the Part 1 or Part 2 clinical radiology examinations. Unless otherwise communicated, the eligibility criteria and progression requirements for all examinations will remain the same for future examination series.
All applications for Consideration of Special Circumstances pertaining to Series 1 2020 are now voided and will no longer be processed. This also applies if you have been sent a Consideration of Special Circumstances outcome letter granting you deferral of the Series 1 2020 examinations.
College examinations are digital exams which require operators who know how to set up, monitor and manage the systems should there be any changes in the host setting.
The College has and will continue to explore alternative options for the running of examinations, recognising that the duration of disruption to normal activities is unknown.
A mixed method using both paper and digital technology was explored for the Part 2 written examinations to allow them to be run in Perth and Auckland; however, this would have required the presence of senior College staff familiar with operational arrangements, which proved impractical due to the evolving risks around travel and gatherings.
The College does not have enough senior staff to extend the examination venues beyond Perth, Sydney and Auckland without affecting trainees adversely, and increasing the risks associated with travel and gatherings. Holding the examinations in a local setting would introduce a lack of standardisation which would potentially disadvantage trainees and interfere with the robust processes relied on to maintain exam integrity.
The COVID-19 Taskforce recognises that TAR implementation is likely to be disrupted by the pandemic. The taskforce will inform trainees as soon as a decision is made regarding any deferral of the current implementation plan.
Jurisdictional requirements and changes may affect the training environment in the short and longer term. The College is working on a framework to identify potential impacts and consider modifications to training requirements that would be appropriate during this time. Trainees are expected to work within their scope of practice with appropriate supervision.
We recognise that home reporting is a measure being used by training sites to protect staff and workforce capabilities. Currently, the checking of diagnostic studies can be done remotely but should otherwise be as outlined in the “Supervision of Radiology Trainees in Training Department Guidelines, viz.”:
The College will review its events and courses regularly, and make decisions on whether they need to be cancelled or deferred. In the event that the College is required to cancel a course or event, the fees for participants will be refunded.The College will also explore alternative plans to offer the events and courses online, as appropriate.
We are aware that many conferences have been cancelled, and the impact this will have on project sign-off. Trainees immediately affected are asked to submit a Consideration of Special Circumstances request as outlined in the relevant policy.
All submissions will be dealt with in accordance with recommendations from Education and Training Committee, designed to ensure that unavoidable project presentation delays do not impact on trainee progression.
The College recognises that COVID-19 has impacted on some Phase 1 trainees' capacity to complete their Part 1 examinations within 2 years of commencement of training. The College’s aim is to minimise disadvantage to trainees and would therefore like to reassure you that no trainee will lose a Part 1 Exam opportunity as a result of the cancellation of Series 1 2020 Part 1 Examination.
Any impacted trainees will be provided with a 6 month extension to complete the Part 1 examinations, i.e. within 2 years and 6 months (subject to further extension if the College is unable to hold the Series 2 2020 Part 1 Examination) of commencing the training program. This would ensure trainees are provided with the maximum four (4) Part 1 exam opportunities.
Trainees who had their final Part 1 examinations opportunity delayed due to COVID-19 exam deferral may be worried that their training time will not be accredited beyond 2 years of commencement of training. Those trainees should submit a request for Consideration of Special Circumstances. If they are successful in passing the Part 1 Examinations at the next available sitting, the College will consider accrediting the additional training time beyond 2 years up to 6 months. Eligible trainees will be required to provide supporting documentation from the Director of Training.
For those candidates who have recently completed the written Phase 2 radiation oncology examinations, the assessment results will be released, as normal, after the Board of Examiners meeting. This is likely to occur in mid-April 2020 and will include information about future examination attempts applicable to you.
For those candidates:
The RANZCR, on the advice of the COVID-19 Taskforce, decided to cancel all College events that cannot be delivered in an online format.
The Phase 1 exam preparation course from 19–21 June 2020, and Phase 2 exam preparation course from 15–16 May 2020 were therefore cancelled, due to the highly interactive nature of this course. Delegates will receive a full refund.
The ESTRO radiobiology course from 29 April to 3 May was deferred. The College is working to reschedule this event in November 2020. New dates will be communicated shortly. If you cannot attend the course on the new date, you will receive a full refund.
We recognise that jurisdictional requirements and changes may affect the training environment in the short and longer term, The College is working on a framework to identify potential impacts and consider modifications to training requirements that would be appropriate during this time. Trainees are expected to work within their scope of practice with appropriate supervision, and with supervision and monitoring of trainee work consistent with normal working conditions.