RCSEd Statement on the Joint Speciality Fellowship (JSF) examinations

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15 May 2024

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) is responsible for setting high-quality professional standards for surgical and dental specialities and assessing doctors who seek to achieve those standards by setting and administering examinations, in the UK and internationally. The Joint Speciality Fellowship (JSF) examinations, which cover a variety of surgical specialities in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, are one example of how RCSEd works with partner organisations internationally to help set and assess surgical standards.

The parallel pathway programme for cardio-thoracic surgeons in Malaysia was set up by RCSEd in 2014 at the request of the Malaysian Association for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (MATCVS) and the then Director General of Health Malaysia. The programme is intended to help deliver high standards of cardiothoracic surgery in Malaysia. 35 doctors have taken part in the programme since 2016, with 12 successfully completing the JSF examination.

Candidates who pass a JSF examination have achieved the same high standards of knowledge and practice as candidates who pass the fellowship examination set by the Joint Committee on Intercollegiate Examinations (JCIE) in the United Kingdom. This is recognised by the fact that successful candidates in JSF examinations are awarded fellowship of RCSEd; JSF examinations are of the same standard as JCIE examinations, but the format of the examinations is different.

UK-based surgical trainees, who have followed a training pathway regulated by the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) and successfully complete the JCIE examination are eligible to apply for, and join, the UK GMC register of specialists. This pathway to this specialist register is not available to surgeons from outside of the UK. Instead, surgeons wishing to join the UK’s specialist register must apply using the “portfolio pathway” and submit other evidence of their eligibility to join the register. RCSEd has never suggested that successful completion of an international fellowship examination would, on its own, guarantee entry to the UK specialist register, something which is a matter for the GMC. However, the GMC may accept the JSF FRCSEd cardiothoracic qualification as part of the evidence for specialist registration application through the "portfolio pathway".


About The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

  • RCSEd was first incorporated as the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1505 and is based in Edinburgh and Birmingham. 
  • It is one of the oldest surgical corporations in the world with a global membership of more than 32,000, including 15,000 members in the UK. 
  • The College also has a significant worldwide presence with members in over 100 countries. 
  • The College promotes the highest standards of surgical and dental practice through education, training and examinations, its liaison with external medical bodies and representation of the modern surgical and dental workforce. 
  • The College has six faculties: The Faculty of Dental Surgery, The Faculty of Surgical Trainers, The Faculty of Dental Trainers, The Faculty of Perioperative Care, The Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care and The Faculty of Remote, Rural and Humanitarian Healthcare.
  • It is also home to the UK’s only Faculty of Surgical Trainers, open to all those with an interest in surgical training regardless of College affiliation. 
  • Find RCSEd at www.rcsed.ac.uk, on X (formerly known as Twitter), on Facebook, and Instagram.

For further information, please contact comms@rcsed.ac.uk  

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