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Diploma in Geriatric Medicine

The Diploma in Geriatric Medicine (DGM) is a credential that is split between one online written exam and one clinical exam and is awarded by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) which was developed in collaboration with the British Geriatrics Society (BGS)

The DGM is designed for individuals who want to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in the healthcare of older people in primary and secondary care settings. 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.

Our candidate base historically has consisted of those who are statutory regulated professionals such as:

  • GPs
  • Old age psychiatrists
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists
  • Physician Associates (in the managed voluntary register)
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Osteopaths
  • And other allied Health Professionals.

If you wish to enquire about your eligibility for the diploma, please visit the ‘Eligibility’ section on this webpage, or alternatively, we would be more than happy to discuss this by contacting us at dgm@rcp.ac.uk.

Our offices are available 9:00am – 5:00pm (GMT) on weekdays (Monday to Friday).

Examination fees and dates

For more information regarding the structure of these components, please visit the ‘Examination structure’ section on this webpage.

The online written examination is held once per year, and the clinical examination is held twice per year, in Summer and Autumn, taken in-person at the RCP’s Examination Assessment Centre in Liverpool.

2022 – Part 2 Clinical Exam (set 2):

  • Examination fee: £525
  • Application period: 19 September 2022 – 2 October 2022
  • Examination date: 7, 8, 9 November 2022*
  • Results release date: 8 December 2022 – by 5:00pm to candidate email addresses.

2023 – Part 1 Online Written Exam:

  • Examination fee: £290
  • Application period: Monday 9 January 2023 – Monday 23 January 2023
  • Examination date: Wednesday 1 March 2023
  • Results release date: 29 March 2023 – by 5:00pm to candidate email addresses.

2023 – Part 2 Clinical Exam (set 1): 

  • Examination fee: £554
  • Application period: Monday 3 April 2023 – Sunday 16 April 2023
  • Examination date: 6 – 7 June 2023 (dates may be added dependent on capacity)*
  • Results release date: 5 July 2023 – by 5:00pm to candidate email addresses.

2023 – Part 2 Clinical Exam (set 2): 

Examination fee: £554
Application period: Monday 18 September 2023 – Sunday 1 October 2023
Examination date: 7 – 8 November 2023 (dates may be added dependent on capacity)*
Results release date: 6 December 2023 – by 5:00pm to candidate email addresses.

More information for each exam component can be viewed in the ‘Examination structure’ section on this webpage.

*Clinical exam dates may be changed/added or removed depending on capacity.

Candidates must first pass the written exam in order to be eligible to sit the clinical exam. They will have two years to pass the clinical exam upon passing the written component.

Should you have any specific date requests for your clinical exam, 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.

How to apply

Candidates will be able to apply for both of our DGM exam components (written and clinical) via an application button that will go live on this current webpage when the application period opens for each of these components. The button on this webpage will take you through to an application form via our online exam provider called Orzone. You may have to create an account on Orzone once applying for the exam.

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 bank account or your original payment card.

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

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.

Examination structure

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 written examination occurs once per year in March, 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.

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 in the Downloads section at the bottom of this webpage.

DGM Part 2: Clinical based assessment

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 and occurs twice per year in Summer and Autumn.

Part 2 is a clinical assessment that takes place at the RCP’s bespoke assessment centre in Liverpool at The Spine Building. 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:
  • (4A) Neurological, cardiovascular, or respiratory examination
  • (4B) Dermatology or locomotor examination. 

Should you have any specific date requests for your clinical exam, 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.

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.

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

How to prepare

In preparing for each exam, you need to allocate time for self-guided study. The documents at the bottom of the webpage 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 course, but we encourage you to prepare well, and take advantage of our conferences and online resources.

You can research into the various exam topics covered in the DGM exam components via our ‘DGM Regulations and Syllabus’ document at the bottom of this webpage.

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

GP, 2021

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 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 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

Guidance for candidates

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.

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.

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 roughly within six to eight 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. 

Contact

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