Education / Subspecialities

Certificate by Peer Review


Subspecialist Certificates by Peer Review (without examination) may be awarded by the Senate of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA) to carefully peer reviewed medical or dental specialists with subspecialties in their disciplines .

The Senate may award a Subspecialist Certificate by Peer Review only to someone who:

  • is registrable as a subspecialist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), in the same subspecialty of medicine or dentistry for which he/she has been nominated.
  • has been active in the subspecialty for at least 10 years.
  • is resident in South Africa at the time of the nomination.
  • has been subjected to the CMSA peer review process by a formally appointed peer review sub-committee according to the criteria as laid down below. 

 The process of subspecialty peer review shall be as follows:

A letter of nomination and motivation must be submitted to the CMSA office in Johannesburg.

The nomination motivation must: 
Be compiled and signed by the President, the Secretary and one other Councillor of the constituent College to which the proposed nominee for Subspecialist Certificate by Peer Review belongs

  • One of the three nominating members mentioned above, must be HPCSA registered as a subspecialist in the subspecialty of the nomination.
  • If there is no subspecialist in the relevant category serving on the Council, the third signature must be obtained from an HPCSA registered subspecialist member of the CMSA, in the subspecialty of the nomination.
  • If the President or the Secretary of the constituent College is the nominee, then the President or one of the Vice-Presidents of the CMSA will be asked to sign the nomination in his/her place.

Be accompanied by the curriculum vitae (CV) of the nominee.

  • The nomination motivation must have a detailed addendum, drawn up by the nominators, in which the achievements
    essential for- and specific to the award of the Subspecialist Certificate by Peer Review are detailed and referenced to the
    curriculum vitae. (Refer Section 8.)
The Johannesburg office will send copies of the nomination motivation and the CV of the nominated person to the Councillors of the constituent College to which the nominee belongs, together with the CMSA Subspecialty Certificate by Peer Review Criteria document and a confidential ballot paper.
  • If fewer than two-thirds of all the Councillors of the constituent College vote in favour of the nominee, it shall be the duty of the Chairperson or Honorary Registrar of the ECC to inform the nominee that his/her candidature has been unsuccessful.
  • If at least two thirds of all the Councillors vote in favour of the nominee, then all the results of the vote shall be sent to the CMSA Examinations and Credentials Committee (ECC) for the continuation of the full review process.
The CMSA ECC will appoint a sub-committee which should be constituted of not less than 5 senior members or
associates of the CMSA, of whom at least 2 are members of the ECC and at least 3 are registered with the HPCSA as
subspecialists in the same subspecialty as the nominated person and are members or associates of the CMSA and
relevant subspecialty Societies or Organisations.
  • One of the 2 ECC sub-committee members must be appointed as Chairperson of the sub-committee, by the
  • The sub-committee will report their review decision to the Management Committee (ManCo) of the ECC.
  • In the event of a candidature being successful by reason of a favourable review by the majority of the sub-committee members appointed by the ECC, the Chairperson of the ECC will inform the full ECC of the success of the candidature and then submit the decision to the Senate for ratification. 
  • In the event of a candidature being unsuccessful by reason of an unfavourable review by the majority of
    the sub-committee members appointed by the ECC, the Chairperson or Honorary Registrar of the ECC will
    inform the nominee that his/her candidature has been unsuccessful.
A successful nominee will be awarded his/her Certificate by Peer Review by the President of the CMSA during a CMSA Admission Ceremony and he/she may have the option of selecting the venue and date of the Admission Ceremony which suits him/her. 
A Certificate by Peer Review may not be awarded posthumously. 
Certificants by Peer Review will be full paying members of the CMSA, with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of CMSA membership. 
Certificants by Peer Review may register their Certificate as an additional qualification with the HPCSA, but it may (currently) not be used for purposes of HPCSA registration as a subspecialist. Certificants by Peer Review may use the appropriate post-nominal designatory letters applicable to the relevant subspecialty after their names (e.g. Cert Cardiology(SA).  
Achievement evaluation guidelines for the ECC peer review sub-committee

A detailed record of service to the CMSA in the relevant subspecialty

  • as a present or past office bearer of the Senate of the CMSA;
  • as the present or past President, Secretary or executive member of his/her CMSA Council of his/her College;
  • as an examiner, observer or convenor in the subspecialty examinations for the CMSA;
  • as a regular contributor to subspecialty-specific CMSA CPD or teaching and training activities;
  • as an active subspecialty-specific member / associate of the CMSA.

Standing in the relevant subspecialty, as demonstrated by the following:

  • Ten years or more of subspecialty-specific practice since HPCSA registration as a specialist, in a 4 discipline with the relevant HPCSA registerable subspecialty;
  • Awards received- or assessments of merit awarded in the relevant subspecialty, such as Honorary Fellowships, Awarded Fellowships, Medals, Civil Decorations, etc. for services related to his/her practice in the subspecialty. Honorary or foreign membership of international professional bodies in the relevant subspecialty.
  • Service to a national or international professional body or -association representing his/her subspecialty as an elected office bearer, eg: 
    • President / President elect or Chair / Chair elect;
    • Vice-President / Vice-President elect or Vice-Chair / Vice-Chair elect;
    • Treasurer / Secretary / Councillor;
    • Board / Committee / Subcommittee Chair;
    • Founding member.
  • Recognition by peers as an expert in the relevant subspecialty. *Evidence of this must be provided.
  • Exceptional contribution to the South African health system in the relevant subspecialty, as judged by:
    • Service to the health system e.g. member of a national advisory panel in the subspecialty;
    • Formulation and publication of national and/or international practice guidelines / – policies / -legislation in the subspecialty.
  • Academic achievement in the following relating to the relevant subspecialty
    • At least 10 or more subspecialty-specific papers/publications published in national/international scientific or professional high impact journals / -reports / -publications, as first author.
    • At least 10 or more subspecialty-specific presentations or papers presented at national/international conferences and/or national/international meetings or workshops.
    • Academic contribution to a university / academic department in the subspecialty concerned.
      In the case of private practitioners, contribution toor membership of a university department in the
      subspecialty concerned and contribution to health promotion at a national/international level in the subspecialty concerned
    • Doctorate (PhD) or Honorary Doctorate, MPhil or equivalent qualification in the subspecialty concerned.

Proposed to Senate in May 2019

**EDITED: October 2019