MCAI ceasing to be recognised as an exempting exam from 1 April 2015

With effect from 1 April 2015 the Membership examination of the College of Anaesthetists of Ireland (MCAI) will cease to be recognised as an exempting examination as part eligibility towards the Final RCoA FRCA Examination.

The CAI Membership examination is the only part 1/Primary level examination considered acceptable as an exempting examination in place of the Primary FRCA, as part eligibility towards the Final FRCA examinations.  All other examinations accepted as exemptions from the Primary FRCA are full Fellowship qualifications.

The FRCA underwent significant changes to its structure and marking systems in 2009 and continues to evolve to meet the GMC and AoMRC standards and requirements.  Similarly, the CAI has made changes to its examinations to ensure that they comply with the standards for Irish training and assessment.  As such the differences between the FRCA Primary and the MCAI/Irish Primary examinations have become increasingly significant.

Continuous development of the UK Anaesthetic CCT Curriculum, the FRCA examination syllabus,  policies and standard setting methods, have made it  increasingly difficult to determine if the MCAI examination continues to provide a comparison against the eligibility for the Final FRCA examinations. Therefore, at its meeting on 10 December 2014, the RCoA College Council agreed that with effect from 1st April 2015 the Membership examination for the Fellowship of the College of Anaesthetists of Ireland will no longer be accepted as an exemption from passing the Primary FRCA Examinations.  Paragraph 19(a) of the August 2014 Primary and Final FRCA Examinations Regulations will be amended accordingly.

Withdrawal of the MCAI as an exempting examination will not affect eligibility towards the Final FRCA exams for those with the FCAI or other qualifications listed at paragraph 19 of the Examination Regulations. The College will continue to recognise the CAI Primary exam/MCAI as an exemption examination, for those who passed the exam prior to the effective date of this change, in accordance with the standard validity period of seven years.

The number of attempts in the Primary exams recently increased to six with further educational support from trainers being a pre-requisite before the sixth attempt enabling increased support to all eligible candidates.  In addition the College has recently provided an increased number of resources on the RCoA website.   Therefore choosing/remaining on the Primary FRCA route will provide candidates with more timely support.

For further information please refer to the FAQs.

19 December 2014