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COVID-19 and courses

COVID information hub

This page contains information specific to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on our examinations.

Last updated:  12.15pm, 13 March 2020

Your questions

Is my course cancelled?

For RCS courses booked and paid for via the RCS website, from Monday 16 March through to the end of August, the course will not be going ahead and you will be contacted directly. 

Will my place be transferred?

We will transfer you onto a course from September onwards. You will receive a confirmation email in due course with the details of your new course date and booking.

Will I receive a full refund?

Where possible, we are endeavouring to transfer delegates to a new course date. If a transfer if not possible, your place will be fully refunded.

How long will these measures be in place for?

Advice from NHS England is that this will need to be in place for six months, taking us through to September. In Wales, no end date has yet been given. However, we will keep this under review and provide regular updates to these pages as we know more. 

I am booked onto a course in my local hospital, is that cancelled?

If your course is run anywhere other than an RCS partner centre* and was not booked via the RCS website, we are unable to advise regarding cancellations. The local course coordinator for that centre will contact you directly if your course is cancelled and issue transfers and refunds in line with their cancellation policies.

* Partner centres: Manchester Surgical Skills and Simulation Centre, St Georges University of London, St Georges Advanced Patient Simulation and Skills Centres(GAPS), Etc Venues, Royal College of Surgeons

When will I be able to attend a course in the future?

As soon as we are able to start running courses again, we will be making arrangements with all of the centres that we work with to do so. However we envisage that this will not be until the end of the summer. We will try to inform you in a timely manner, but the courses section of the website will have the most up to date information.

How do I complete the necessary training for my portfolio/ application?

Discussions with employers, regulators and agencies involved in the delivery of surgical training regarding promotion, competency and assessment are taking place to ensure that individual trainees are not disadvantaged. This includes arrangements for indemnity. JCST have made a statement here and the AoRMC have released an ARCP contingency planning letter.

When will there be more advice for trainees regarding the impact upon training?

We understand the concerns around the impact that COVID-19 will have upon training and progression. The RCS is liaising closely with the other Surgical Colleges, AoMRC, NHS England and other key stakeholders to ensure that trainees supporting the response against COVID-19 will not be adversely impacted as a result. We will work closely with ASiT and BOTA throughout this time to understand and listen to the concerns being faced. 

Is my e-learning cancelled?

No. PGCert access is unaffected and we are working to ensure that people with access to e-learning modules for courses can maintain their access to this material for an appropriate length of time.

Can I put my name on a waiting list?

Each of our courses on the website has a ‘Register Your Interest’ button at the bottom. This will add you to the mailing list for that course.

Can’t the course run online instead?

We are reviewing all of our courses to see what learning materials can be made available online. We will not be able to run the actual course online but we may be able to provide access to some of the relevant learning materials.

If my conference or event takes place online instead of face-to-face, will I still be eligible for CPD points?

We will endeavour to arrange for CPD points to be awarded for RCS online activities. This will be confirmed in relation to the specific activity.

What happens to my VLE progress?

Any work you have done until now will be saved, but your access to the VLE may change subject to the status of your course.

I am due to teach on a course in my local hospital. Is that cancelled?

If your course is run anywhere other than an RCS partner centre, the course coordinator will contact you if your course is cancelled.  If you can’t teach due to the current situation, please let your coordinator know as soon as possible.

My ATLS Provider status is due to expire, can I have an extension?

We are working with the relevant employers, regulators and agencies involved in the delivery of surgical training regarding promotion, competency and assessment. Discussions are taking place to ensure that individual trainees are not disadvantaged. This includes arrangements for indemnity.

I need to resit part of my ATLS course, can I have an extension on the deadline?

We will ensure that participants who need to take a resit will not be disadvantaged due to current situation. If your deadline for a resit completion has not expired as of Friday 13th March 2020, you will be allowed an additional six months for the resit completion. Please note that MCQ resits do not necessarily require a course to be running. Your local coordinator may be able to create exam conditions for you without a course.

My ATLS Instructor/ Instructor Potential status is due to expire. Can I have an extension?

Yes, we will ensure that instructors are not disadvantaged due to course cancellations. If you are not able to recertify or teach due to course cancellation, your grace period for recertification or instructor candidacy will be extended by six months in the first instance.

My eligibility status for the ATLS Reverification course is due to expire. Can I have an extension?

If you were booked to attend ATLS Reverification course that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 you will be given additional six months grace period in the first instance to book a place on another Reverification course. If you haven’t had a place booked on ATLS Reverification course but you are eligible to attend ATLS Reverification course between March and August 2020 you will be given six months grace period to complete ATLS Reverification course.

How can I contact you?

Please be advised that we are receiving large numbers of enquiries and are endeavouring to respond as quickly as we can. We urge you to read our FAQs thoroughly before contacting us directly. You can reach us at

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