Ground Floor Office Suite
Heanor Gate Road
As you are aware it has been an extremely difficult year and IHRIM has not been able to provide any examinations since September 2019 due to the pandemic. Our usual examination venues are hotels, conference centres and university establishments. The majority of these venues are currently closed to external organisations or would only be able to hold limited numbers due to social distancing. The national picture is no clearer at the time of writing. The country is currently under lockdown and although this will be lifted in December, we have no way of knowing what the New Year will bring. There is a hope that a vaccine will become available but there are no guarantees or timeframes for this.
IHRIM is a small not for profit organisation. With the exception of two part-time office staff all the officers of the Institute are full-time employees of the NHS. The monies generated by the examinations are used to pay the costs of the examination, our office overheads and associated running costs. Even large national examining bodies have struggled with the provision of their qualifications during these difficult times despite having access to budgets and economies of scale that are not available to us.
As you may be aware the NCCQ is developed in partnership with the NHS Digital Terminology and Classifications Delivery Service. It is also overseen by an external quality assurance panel, including membership of NWIS and HSCNI as well as other academics and professionals. Together we have been in consultation with an e-assessment provider in the hopes that all candidates could take the NCCQ electronically. Discussions are on-going as we work to resolve concerns expressed by the external QA panel as the suggested e-assessment solution would include remote invigilation requiring the system to cross Trust/Health Board firewalls. We are now reviewing the requirements in the hope that we can find a satisfactory and cost-effective solution.
Therefore, in consideration of these factors we have decided to reschedule the next examination date to Tuesday 22nd June 2021 to give us more time to find a resolution. Our current plan is to offer either a paper based or electronic version of the exam. Whichever one is eventually decided on it will need to be hosted locally by your own Trust to ensure you can attend on the day and will not need to travel. If you wish to take the exam in June then you will need a quiet room in your Trust to sit the exam, either a desktop PC or laptop, and an independent invigilator. You now need to discuss this with your manager and see if they are able to sign the accompanying form to agree to source these requirements.
The room will need to be away from as much external noise as possible so you are not disturbed and the invigilator must not be involved in Clinical Coding in any way. We are happy if they are Trust employees
but they must not be from within the Clinical Coding structure or be Clinical Coders themselves. We will send out detailed instructions to the invigilators once we have the details of the person your manager identifies.
We are aware that this is a cumbersome process but we are determined that in any eventuality you will be able to take your exams next June if you wish to. You will not be registered for the June 2021 exam until you have returned the accompanying form duly completed. Please also note if you choose to go ahead that the Institute will not accept any responsibility for the room, equipment or invigilator that are provided by your Trust and any problems due to noise or poor facilities will not be accepted as a reason for a complaint or an appeal.
You will be informed nearer the time if the exam will be paper based or electronic but this will be IHRIM’s decision and will not be subject to the preference of the candidates. If we can organise an e-assessment then that will be our preferred choice and it will only be if we cannot implement this in time that our contingency will be a paper based option. If we can agree an electronic solution then we intend to offer a mock exam so that candidates will be familiar with the system prior to examination day. Details of this will follow as soon as possible.
Of course if the situation was to radically alter then we reserve the right to revert to our usual practice of supplying the exams in a number of venues around the country.
The Executive Board