The implementation of the mandatory completion of the research component as a prerequisite for specialist registration raises questions about the adequacy of the current training period to meet the rigorous training requirements, as well as the respective roles and responsibilities of the four key stakeholders who serve as gatekeepers.
The requirement was implemented in response to the decision of the HPCSA's Subcommittee for Postgraduate Education and Training--communicated in November 2010--whereby completed research would become a requirement for specialist registration for all registrars commencing training in 2011, i.e.
Such variation in requirements was subsequently not deemed acceptable, given that the College became the national exit examining body with the possibility of a university-obtained MMed no longer being suitable for specialist registration, i.e.
The content of the Form 57 MED for submission to the HPCSA as part of the specialist registration process states the following: 'We the undersigned certify that the candidate has submitted a research component that complies with the HPCSA requirements and this has been signed off by the research supervisor(s).
Universities and hospitals must ensure protected research time for registrars to complete research dissertations required for specialist registration. However, the zero/ low publication counts of some universities questions the HPCSA ambition of requiring a dissertation for specialist registration, unless dissertations that are not of a publishable standard are accepted.