The specialty of Infectious Diseases (ID) allows an exciting and varied career in the clinical management of infection which regularly presents new challenges, exemplified very much by the current Covid pandemic. For many years the specialty has been closely allied with general internal medicine (GIM) and many ID physicians continue to practise as consultants in both ID and GIM.
Since August 2015, the first two years of higher specialist training has been combined with training in medical microbiology (or virology) (MMMV). This is known as Combined Infection Training (CIT) and is made up of four components – clinical infection experience on an ID unit, infection related outpatient clinics, laboratory benchwork in MMMV and infection consult work. Following CIT, trainees have been able to progress into further higher infection training either in conjunction with MMMV or with GIM and emerge from training with a dual CCT.
The new curriculum for ID is unique amongst physician curricula in that it is a Group 1 specialty (ie combined with Internal Medicine Stage 2 (IMS2) training and recruited from completion of Internal Medicine Stage 1 – IMS1) or a Group 2 specialty (combined with MMMV and recruited from the completion of two years IMS1). It is no longer possible to train in ID alone (training in MMMV alone is still possible through the relevant curricula managed by RCPath). Training under the new ID curriculum will commence in August 2021 if combined with MMMV and in August 2022 if combined with IMS2.
Tropical Medicine training covers the same curriculum as Infectious Diseases but also includes 12 months in an overseas, resource poor setting that has been recognised for training and at least 12 months of the UK-based training must be in a recognised Tropical Centre ie Liverpool, London (HTD) and Birmingham. Trainees also attend a full-time Diploma of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene course. As for ID, it must be combined with IM or MMMV.
Many ID trainees take the opportunity to do clinical or laboratory research or take time out of programme for experience (OOPE) – especially overseas. This encouraged and facilitated by the curriculum but is not mandatory.
Entry into ID and TM is possible following successful completion of both a foundation programme and a core training programme.
For ID/TM with IMS2 (Group 1):
- Internal Medicine (IM) Stage 1 – three years
- Acute Care Common Stem - Internal Medicine (ACCS-IM) – four years
For ID/TM with MMMV (Group 2):
- Internal Medicine (IM) Stage 1 – two years
- Acute Care Common Stem - Internal Medicine (ACCS-IM) – three years
New curricula have been developed for the infection specialties and were implemented in August 2021 for trainees dual training in Infectious Diseases or Tropical Medicine with Medical Microbiology or Medical Virology (RCPath specialties). Training in the new curricula for ID and TM will also be possible as part of a dual programme with Internal Medicine from August 2022.
Doctors in training will need to transfer to the new curriculum from August 2022 unless their CCT date is on or before 31 August 2023. Please see the sections below for the curricula and supporting guidance.
The curriculum for each specialty defines the process of training and the competencies needed for the award of a certificate of completion of training (CCT). New curricula have been approved for Infectious Diseases (ID),Tropical Medicine (TM) for implementation in August 2021. New curricula for the pathology infection specialties of Medical Microbiology (MM) and Medical Virology (MV) have also been approved and links are given below. Please see the RCPath website for information about the FRCPath examinations.
The 2014 curricula for Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine are provided below. Previous versions of the curriculum are no longer available online but copies can be requested from firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ARCP decision aid for each specialty defines the targets that have to be achieved for a satisfactory ARCP outcome at the end of each training year.
Guidance has been produced for 2021 ARCPs reflecting the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Please see below and the webpage www.jrcptb.org.uk/covid-19
Rough guide to implementation of the 2021 infection curricula
The following guide has been developed to support trainees, supervisors and training programme directors and should be used with the 2021 curricula.