The FOM-appointed protocol reviewers: Reviewers (who may not be occupational physicians) are appointed at the stage of protocol submission by the Chief Examiner (Research Methods). Their main task is to provide rapid informal advice on any improvements which can be made and pointers toward relevant resources. It is up to the candidate to flesh out and develop the full detail of the proposal.
The FOM-appointed assessors: Assessors (who are usually specialists in occupational medicine) are appointed at the stage of final submission by the Chief Examiner (Research Methods). Their main task is to judge the suitability of the submission against the criteria for Membership, and to advise on whether the required standard is met.
The educational supervisor: The educational supervisor should encourage early identification of a research topic and submission of the outline proposal. Progress on this is likely to feature in the Annual Review of Competencies Progression (ARCP), and FOM recommends an outline proposal to have been submitted no later than the end of the 18th month of full-time training (or part-time equivalent).
The supervisor should ensure that any project is realistic and that there will be adequate resources to sustain the work until completion. Progress with the dissertation should be monitored, via regular formal meetings. This will allow problems to be identified at an early stage and solutions identified. FOM expects that the supervisor will advise the candidate on the quality of the final submission, although the final responsibility for the standard of the final submission rests with the candidate.
Educational supervisors who do not feel well versed to supervise their trainee’s dissertation should discuss with the trainee how adequate support and supervision can be brought to bear (e.g. they may wish the trainee to enrol with an academic centre or an independent academic supervisor).
The Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM): The process to be followed is detailed in the MFOM Regulations. The Examinations and Training Team will be the first point of contact for candidates, supervisors and assessors. The Chief Examiner (Research Methods) appoints reviewers and assessors and should be contacted for any appeal. The Director of Training will advise on training issues that might affect the submission of the dissertation.
The Postgraduate Deaneries: The Postgraduate Dean must be satisfied that specialist training in occupational medicine conforms to nationally set criteria for the selection of trainees, the delivery of the training programme, the methods of assessment of progress and for determining satisfactory completion of specialist training. Specialist training is time limited and, in general, delays in achieving agreed milestones and outcomes will be interpreted as a failure to progress. Progress with the dissertation will be assessed at ARCP review.
The candidate: The production of a dissertation tests a range of skills, knowledge and attitudes such as self-motivation, organisation, communication, networking, study design and critical appraisal of information. All candidates must accept the responsibility to produce a dissertation of an acceptable standard in a timely fashion. Support from the educational supervisor and FOM will be available within the training programme and it is important for the trainee to make appropriate use of such support.