Background to the exam
The creation of the Faculty of Pain Medicine in 2007 paved the way to improve the standards and recognition of Pain Medicine training in the UK. This led to the development of an examination under the leadership of Dr Kate Grady. The examination proposed was designed to support the formative assessment structure of WPBA, and other components (eg logbook) reviewed in quarterly assessments with trainers. As a distinct summative assessment, the decision was made to design a MCQ component, and a SOE component, as a 2 stage examination, and which would result in the successful candidate achieving the Fellowship with the Faculty, including the award of Fellowship of the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (FFPMRCA).
The exam was introduced to make explicit a high standard of Pain Medicine practice. This is of benefit to Pain Medicine training in the UK, which increases the stature of the Faculty and the prestige of the Fellowship. It also enhances the practice of Pain Medicine and ultimately benefits our patients.
The examination, which took 3 years of concerted work from plan to implementation, has run from Autumn 2012, twice yearly (Autumn and Spring) to date, with the exception of Spring 2020 (as a consequence of Covid 19 pandemic restrictions on social gatherings).