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Diploma in Geriatric Medicine

The Diploma in Geriatric Medicine (DGM), awarded by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), is an examination developed collaboratively by the RCP and the British Geriatrics Society (BGS). It is designed for individuals who want to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in the healthcare of older people. GPs and old age psychiatrists, together with some doctors undergoing training in geriatric medicine, have been the main candidates for the DGM over recent years. Since 2021, the exam has been opened up to nurses, allied health professionals, pharmacists and physician associates (in the managed voluntary register).

What is the DGM?

The DGM is a credential that recognises the in-depth critical understanding, clinical knowledge and skills required in the field of geriatric medicine to provide expert care for older people. Candidates sit two examinations: an online knowledge-based assessment, and a clinical exam, currently taken in person at the RCP’s Examination Assessment Centre in Liverpool.

Is the DGM right for me?

If you're a member of the multidisciplinary team involved in the provision of care of older people and want to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and understanding of managing frailty and the chronic conditions experienced by older people, the DGM provides a recognised, well-regarded award. You might be working in community, primary or secondary care, and you will have had at least two years’ post qualification experience, at least four months of which will be in a setting where you have interacted with a large number of older people. You’ll be familiar with developing care plans for older people.

I thought the DGM was really really useful. I enjoyed the academic rigour of the multiple choice paper and felt a lot more confident in some areas because of it." - GP, 2021

What preparation do I need to do? 

In preparing for the exam, you need to allocate time for self-guided study. The documents below include sample questions for the online knowledge-based assessment, and information about the four stations of the clinical exam. Some universities and private providers offer short courses to help you prepare for the DGM. BGS and RCP do not endorse any particular course, but we encourage you to prepare well, and take advantage of our conferences and online resources. 

‘ [As a GP], the bits [of the DGM] I use most and advise on most are Frailty, MCA, DOLS, Parkinsons, Dementia, Falls, Nutrition, Equipment, Continence, UTI, Bone protection and Depression  in older people." - GP, 2021

What is involved?

The DGM is a 2-part assessment. Part 1 is a single paper, 100-question, best of five, online knowledge-based assessment, sat on a single day.

Part 2 is a clinical assessment which takes place at the RCP’s bespoke assessment centre in Liverpool. The clinical assessment comprises four stations:

1.            History-taking skills

2.            Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA)

3.            Communication skills and ethics

4.            Clinical examining skills including

  • Dermatology or locomotor examination
  • Neurological, cardiovascular or respiratory examination

What will I gain from the DGM?

The DGM has been created specifically for healthcare professionals who are not specialist geriatricians to help demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in the care of older people and in particular the management of frailty. As well as being an externally-recognised part of your professional development, it offers external recognition as part of your continuing professional development.

I found the station on comprehensive geriatric assessment to lend itself well to being a GP and practising holistic medicine." - GP, 2019

Eligibility

All statutorily regulated healthcare practitioners, currently registered and in good standing with the relevant regulator, and with no restrictions on their practice, are eligible to apply to take the DGM. Physician associates who are on the Managed Voluntary Register, which is held by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and Faculty of Physician Associates, are also eligible to apply.

For applicants declaring a UK registration, the RCP assessment unit will check registration with the relevant UK regulator (GMC, NMC, or Health and Care Professions Council, for example), including a check for any restriction to practise. Applicants declaring registration on the Physician Associates Managed Voluntary Register will have this registration checked with the Faculty of Physician Associates, including a check for any restrictions to practise.

Applicants who hold registration with a regulator outside the UK will be required to get their educational supervisor or line manager to submit a reference form confirming the following regarding the applicant:

  • Their regulatory body
  • Their regulatory body registration number (or equivalent)
  • That the applicant is in good standing in their professional practice
  • A general reference detailing why they are supportive of an application from the named individual

Wherever possible the registration details of the applicant will be verified with the relevant regulator, and the RCP reserves the right to contact the referee directly if further information is required.

The RCP reserves the right to verify candidate’s eligibility with their awarding institution, and to refuse entry to the examination to candidates who do not meet the eligibility criteria set out above.

Guidance for candidates

The DGM is designed to test comprehensive clinical knowledge and practical skills in geriatric medicine at a level appropriate for the provision of expert practice in the care for older people in primary and secondary care settings. As such it is advised that applicants have at least two years’ post qualification experience, at least four months of which should be in a setting where they have interacted with a large number of older people. Involvement in the production and implementation of care plans for older people should form a large proportion of any previous experience gained.

Applicants should also be aware that a maximum of six attempts are permitted at each component of the DGM and are advised to consider this when planning their first application to the online knowledge-based assessment. After six failed attempts, a candidate will be required to undertake additional educational experience for each resit and submit evidence of this. This evidence will need to be supported by a candidate’s educational supervisor, and the training programme director or equivalent. For more information, you can download the DGM additional attempt FAQs and form, which can be found at the bottom of this page.

If you are an overseas doctor who fulfils our entry requirements you are welcome to sit the examination. However, you should bear in mind that the examination will be held only in the UK and there will be questions related to health and social systems for older people in the UK, and to UK legislation relating to older people.

Candidates must pass the online knowledge-based assessment before they sit the clinical examination. They have two years to pass the clinical examination and if they fail to do so they should sit the assessment again.

Examination dates and fees (2022)

Details of the remaining 2022 examinations are below:

DGM Part 2: Clinical examination (2nd set)

You must hold a confirmed pass in DGM Part 1 in order to sit the clinical exam. The Part 2 clinical examination will take place in Liverpool, UK.

Diet 2022/02

Application period: 19 September – 02 October 2022
Examination fee: £525
Examination dates: 07 November – 9 November (dates may be changed/added or removed dependent on capacity)
Results release:  08 December 2022.

Results will be distributed via email. Please email us at dgm@rcp.ac.uk if you have not received your results by the end of the above working day.

Payment for the exam is to be completed as part of the application process. Should you subsequently be found not to be eligible for the exam then a full refund of the fees will be processed to your account.

Candidates will not receive official confirmation of their registration and admission to the clinical exam unless they have paid the fee in advance.

Examination dates and fees (2023)

Details of the 2023 examinations are below:

DGM Part 1: Online knowledge-based assessment

The knowledge-based component of the DGM (Part 1) will be delivered online in as a 100-question ‘best-of-five’ assessment. Candidates will sit the assessment using a personal laptop or desktop from an appropriate venue of their choosing.

The online delivery of this examination will make the DGM more accessible to candidates and bypass any barriers created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
More detail relating to the practicalities of the online exam will be communicated to applicants after the application period has closed. We encourage those who are interested to still apply to ensure an application is submitted.

For any queries regarding the online examination, please email us at dgm@rcp.ac.uk, or alternatively you can view the “DGM online exam FAQs” document at the bottom of the page.

The online written examination occurs once per year, so should you miss the application period, the forthcoming year will be the next opportunity to apply as we unfortunately cannot take late applications once the application period has closed.

Diet 2023/1

Application period: 9 January – 23 January 2023
Examination fee: £290
Examination date: 01 March 2023
Results release date: 29 March 2023

DGM Part 2: Clinical examination (1st set)

You must hold a confirmed pass in DGM Part 1 in order to sit the clinical exam. The Part 2 clinical examination will take place in Liverpool, UK.

Diet 2023/01

Application period: 03 April – 16 April 2023
Examination fee: £554

Examination dates: 06 June – 07 June 2023 (dates may be changed/added or removed dependent on capacity)

2023/01 results release: 05 July 2023

Payment for the exam is to be completed as part of the application process. Should you subsequently be found not to be eligible for the exam then a full refund of the fees will be processed to your account.

Candidates will not receive official confirmation of their registration and admission to the clinical exam unless they have paid the fee in advance.

DGM Part 2: Clinical examination (2nd set)

Application period: 18 September – 01 October 2022
Examination fee: £554

Examination dates: 07 November – 08 November 2023 (dates may be changed/added or removed dependent on capacity)

2023/02 results release: 06 December 2023

Payment links will be sent once eligibility has been confirmed after application window has closed.

Candidates will not receive official confirmation of their registration and admission to the clinical exam unless they have paid the fee in advance.

Should you have any specific date requests, please notify us via the application form or email dgm@rcp.ac.uk - we will endeavour to allocate you to your preferred exam dates however this cannot be guaranteed in all cases.

Diplomas

  • Candidates are not required to complete any documentation in order to receive their diploma. However, candidates are advised that they should inform the RCP of any changes in personal details to avoid loss or delay of the item.
  • Diplomas are automatically issued within six weeks after result release although timescales may vary.
  • Candidates who require a replacement diploma are advised to submit a request to the email address below. A £35 charge will apply, unless the individual is a fellow of any of the three royal colleges, in which case no charge will apply. A replacement diploma should be issued within two weeks of the fee being processed.
  • If you have any queries please contact dgm@rcp.ac.uk.
  • Candidates should receive a reply within three working days of receipt.
  • Please note diplomas will be retained by the RCP for one year from the date of issue, after which time they will be destroyed. Every effort will be made to contact candidates should their diploma be returned undelivered to the RCP. However, candidates are advised to contact the RCP if they are not in receipt of their diploma within one year of passing the DGM exam.
  • Any requests received for a re-print after one year will incur a charge of £35.

 

DGM clinical marksheets

To help you understand how the DGM clinical exam is marked, sample marksheets are available to download at the bottom of the page.

Contact

Telephone: +44 (0)151 318 2020
Email: dgm@rcp.ac.uk