The training programme in haematology, produced by the Haematology Specialty Advisory Committee of the Joint Committee on Higher Medical Training (JCHMT), is an essential component of specialist registrar training. Assessment visits of the postgraduate programme by members of the Haematology SAC ensure that an appropriate standard of training is offered.
The annual Record of In-Training Assessment (RITA) and penultimate year assessment (PYA) are also important aspects of training to ensure that the trainee is making adequate progress. Regular three or six-monthly meetings between trainees and designated trainers should also be in place to complement the RITAs.
Against this background of progressive development of the specialist registrar, the examination system aims to assess whether the trainee is acquiring the levels of knowledge appropriate to the duration of their training.
Part 1 examination
Trainees will usually sit this examination after two years of post-registration training. The examination comprises the following.
a) Two written papers
These measure the trainees knowledge of both laboratory and clinical haematology. Paper two contains one compulsory question on blood transfusion practice. Successful candidates then progress to:
b) A practical examination
This examination is held in three centres in the UK. There is no variability between centres since the same question papers and slide material are used in the centres. There are four components.
i) A morphology section
This consists of one section of ten short answers to questions that required a diagnosis from a blood film, bone marrow aspirate/trephine biopsy or from data interpretation. There is a second section of usually four short cases, in which more detailed answers are required of the clinical material provided.
ii) A coagulation section
There are usually eight questions to be answered in two hours. They comprise data interpretation on a wide range of clinical and laboratory problems found in coagulation.
iii) A blood transfusion section
There are usually ten questions in two separate sections that require interpretation of transfusion medicine data.
iv) An oral examination.
Candidates are required to pass all four sections of the examination. Attendance prior to the examination at coagulation and blood transfusion courses is important but candidates are expected to be familiar with the day-to-day clinical and laboratory problems that arise in their training departments.