Within the past week, you will have received details of your forthcoming Section 2 examination and you will therefore be aware that the JCIE had intended staging this in Sheffield. No-one needs any reminder, however, that the pandemic surge secondary to the Omicron variant is having an enormous impact on all walks of life and JCIE examinations are by no means exempt. Although we clearly cannot predict what the next few weeks will bring, one of my principal roles as JCIE Chair over the past 18 months has been to maximise the chances of examinations being able to continue, no matter what the pandemic may throw at us, and that demands team working with multiple other agencies. I am also well aware that for you as a candidate, the JCIE has a duty to give you as much notice as possible of any potential changes.
The examination in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery scheduled for Sheffield was to be the first Section 2 sitting staged outwith Scotland since March 2020. It was arranged in good faith but unfortunately the sudden and unexpected emergence of Omicron has necessitated contingency planning. The JCIE has sought input from the Surgical Royal Colleges and from the highest level of Public Health in England but has concluded that it would be January before the feasibility of continuing with an examination in Sheffield could be determined. That, as I am sure will be appreciate, is too late for the JCIE Secretariat to finalise planning plus it would leave you as a candidate with a considerable period of uncertainty over the festive period.
The JCIE has therefore made the decision to re-locate the February 2022 Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery Section 2 examination to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. I recognise that we are still at the mercy of the pandemic but the Scottish Government has assured me this week that it is happy for the JCIE to proceed with planning and it is this partnership that has allowed the JCIE to deliver 31 in-person Section 2 examinations since November 2020.
I apologise most sincerely for any inconvenience this change in venue may cause. I can assure you that it is not a decision that has been taken lightly but has been made in the interests of maximising the chances of your Section 2 examination being able to proceed on the advertised dates.
With kind regards
John R McGregor
Chair – Joint Committee on Intercollegiate Examinations