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National 2021 EM ACCS Recruitment *** Added 11/01/21 ***

RCEM Training Standards Committee (TSC) was asked by Health Education England (HEE) to provide two options which would enable non face-to-face recruitment to continue as part of COVID-19 surge contingency planning. This aims to ensure a flexible and an adaptive approach as possible. This is in line with other Royal Colleges and their processes. The College understands the concerns over this new interview process, however flexibility must be maintained to ensure national recruitment for August 2021 can proceed and training programmes / future workforce planning are not destabilised.

Reviewing the experience of other Royal Colleges, the decision was made to include the MSRA (Multi-speciality recruitment assessment) details of which can be found at:

The introduction of the MSRA and non-face-to-face interviews is a significant change to ACCS EM interview formats of previous years. TSC understands the MSRA may seem another hurdle for hard working trainees at this difficult time. More details can be found at:

At present the plan will be to continue with Plan A. Information on this can be found at

The factors that govern whether Plan A or Plan B is used relates to the emerging and ever-changing pandemic effect on the healthcare system and the availability to attend or support interviews.

We know some applicants may not have revised or prepared for this exam and may feel disadvantaged compared to some peers applying for other specialties that already use the MSRA. With limited options available this was the fairest contingency that could be made that would ensure a Plan B could be enacted if Plan A is rendered untenable by an escalating public health crisis.

The changes including the addition of the MSRA have not been taken lightly. RCEM has worked with the Emergency Medicine Trainees Association (EMTA) and the Work Psychology group to provide a safe, pragmatic solution whilst endeavouring to maintain a fair and transparent process for all. The MSRA is necessary to support Plan B removing the need to shortlist, and will also reduce interview length for Plan A. The MSRA is a validated tool that has been used to support other speciality applications before. For Plan A, applicant’s
assessment score is comprised of the MSRA and interview scores.

There are 12,500 MSRA assessment centre bookings available. To date over > 1,300 EM theme ACCS application candidates have been long listed for the MSRA. Interview dates for Plan A are set from the 15th March – 26th March 2021 and panel members have already signed up to the interview dates. Please note that interview dates are continuously reviewed by HEE national recruitment teams.

Given the current pandemic situation, on-going discussions with LaSE (London and South East) Recruitment Office and Pearson Vue continue to be underway and trainees are advised to check this section regularly. We would advise all applicants to book the MSRA as soon as possible with Pearson Vue at designated test centres whenever possible. RCEM is unable to influence the space availability within these test centres and therefore there may be no guarantee that the test can be sat in the applicants own region. However, we do know that as non-medical assessments are cancelled, this releases more availability for the MSRA assessments.

The process for 2021 recruitment could be subject to change should the public health situation significantly worsen and there will be a news item confirming this.

Applicants should be aware that HEE and not the College manage recruitment. This includes setting the interview dates which cannot be re-scheduled to accommodate personal circumstances (including pregnancy). Queries about interviews should be addressed to HE Yorkshire and Humber (ST3, DRE-EM ST3 and ST4) or LaSE (EM ACCS).

The recruitment timeline:

Please continue to check on the LaSE website for further updates.

London and South East (LaSE) Recruitment Office oversees national EM recruitment to ACCS CT1/ST1 posts throughout England, Wales and Scotland. Contact information is available on their website here.
If you have questions concerning the recruitment process please contact Shared Services London via their web-based Applicant Enquiries Service.

Dr Maya Naravi
EM Consultant
Chair of Training Standards Committee
And in consultation with EM Trainee Association (EMTA) Committee

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