Tom Bysouth gives an update on postgraduate qualifications
There has been some movement on this topic and given that it’s always good to stay ahead of the game, I felt it was time for an update.
1. No more portfolio for MJDF
The Royal College of Surgeons of England (home of the MJDF crowd) announced that the portfolio of evidence is being dropped from the MJDF syllabus, therefore you are only required to pass the written examination at 'part one' and the OSCE at 'part two' to gain the qualification.
For those interested in the reasoning behind this change the MJDF website will tell all. Essentially skills required for the portfolio are being assessed in other areas, for example within the Dental Foundation Training Portfolio and as part of Care Quality Commission requirements.
RCS Eng state that those people who have already completed the portfolio may be eligible for a further certificate. If this is you, then you can find further details on the MJDF website.
The MJDF is now a good £68 cheaper than the MFDS, but there are other issues to consider too.
As all fans of Kirstie and Phil know, location has a big impact in our choices in life. Since I last put pen to paper, each college has expanded their location remit. The table below is a not exhaustive list and in no particular order, and a quick trip to the college websites will show you there are many more overseas centres too.
So wherever you live there is probably an exam centre near you. I think it is highly unlikely that we will be able to see the same variety of locations for part two: an exam paper can be sat anywhere but moving an OSCE and a load of actors around is more of a challenge!
4. Membership fees
To keep your newly gained letters after your name, you will need to pay your chosen college each year for the privilege. As you can see above this varies quite vastly depending on where you live and between each college. Perhaps this is something to consider alongside exam fees - which qualification will cost more in the end?
It’s not all about the money though, the best college for you may be the most expensive one. Which one will offer you most value for your hard earned cash? The lists on the college websites are fairly generic – all giving you access to college libraries and research grants. You can also receive discounts on hotel rooms, tailored shirts and banking benefits, or even join the college that your Dad or friend did.
The removal of the MJDF portfolio from the requirements removes a considerable workload and further reduces the distinction between the examinations. As mentioned in the previous piece the exam is not required for entry to specialty training but will help get you points to get to the interview stage.
Both the MFDS and the MJDF have their merits, to my current knowledge neither is seen as better than the other and it is not especially beneficial to take both.
I hope this gives you some useful information and helps to inform your examination decision-making process.
Tom Bysouth is an Associate dentist and Chair of Wales General Dental Practice Committee.