NHS Health Education East Midlands

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Specialty Training Programme Information

What types of specialties are there?
What top tips can help me?
How can I interpret the competition ratios?
How and when should I apply for specialty training?
What other resources can I access to find out more about specialties?

Specialty Options - What types of specialties are there

There are two types of specialty training programmes

  • "Run-through" training, where your progression to the next level of training is automatic and so long as you satisfy all the competency requirements.
  • "Uncoupled" training where there are two years of core training (CT) (three in some specialties), followed by another round of open competition for higher training posts. Progression to the next stages of training is competitive at ST3 level (ST4 for psychiatry and emergency medicine) providing you satisfy all the competency requirements at ST/CT 1 and 2.

Run through training specialties include:

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Paediatrics and Child Health
  • Ophthalmology
  • General Practice
  • Public Health
  • Neurosurgery
  • Histopathology
  • Chemical Pathology
  • Medical Microbiology/Virology
  • Clinical Radiology
  • Academic Clinical Fellowship

Uncoupled training specialties include:

  • Anaesthesia
  • Core Medical Training
  • Core Surgical Training
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Core Psychiatry Training

All specialty training programmes lead eventually to a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT), which qualifies you for entry to the Specialist or GP Register held by the General Medical Council (GMC), subject to the successful attainment of required competences.

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Specialty Information Our 5 Top Tips

  1. The specialty recruitment process is evolving all the time so check the Specialty Training website for up to date information on the recruitment process being used by the speciality you are interested in.
  2. Rotating around the majority of specialties as a student or trainee offers you unique opportunities for career exploration. Use that time wisely to find out all you can about different specialties. See our Information Interviews guide for suggestions of what questions to ask.
  3. You are provided with taster days during foundation so use these to best advantage and check out what is available - remember that you don't need to have done the specialty in your Foundation years to apply for it at specialty level. Taster sessions are a great way to try out a range of clinical areas and explore what it has to offer. Find out more about taster sessions and how to apply for them on the foundation section of the deanery website.
  4. Use Sci59. The Specialty Choice Inventory is an online careers interest inventory designed to measure people's preferences to the 59 most common specialties recognised by GMC (including General Practice!). It can be accessed at: http://sci59.open.ac.uk/ It matches an individual's personal and professional characteristics and aspirations to appropriate specialty choices and provides the user with suggestions for further research and career information gathering. Sci59 Online is intended to be used alongside a host of other sources of information and opinions from, among others, colleagues, family, friends, mentors, supervisors and providers of education. Please note that you must be working as a Foundation or Specialty trainee in the East Midlands to access this resource via us. If you are a member of the BMA it can also be accessed via their careers service. For further information download our Sci-59 user guide and/or to request a username and password contact heem.careers@nhs.net.
  5. Explore the Medical Careers Website. It offers a wide-range of information including comprehensive guides to all the specialties, information on application to specialty, further details on interviews and selection centre stations as well as a link to FAQs.

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Interpreting Competition Ratios

Take a look at our Recruitment Update which offers information on:

  • the evolution of recruitment,
  • an insight into interpreting competition ratios,
  • a changing NHS and what it means for your future career,
  • the reality of competition ratios,
  • the swings and changes in recruitment and how to be prepared for the recruitment process.

Take a look at the specialty competition ratios from 2011 recruitmement in the East Midlands and for further information on recruitment please visit the Deanery medical recruitment pages. Further information about competition ratios can be found by visiting the Specialty Training website.

Applying to Specialty Training

There is much preparation and many practicalities you can do around recruitment and selection for jobs.

  • Seek support from your clinical tutors, education supervisors, trust consultants and The HEEM Careers Service
  • Visit the relevant Deanery website to check out the hospitals, posts and rotations, the local area and how vacancies will be managed.
  • Contact the East Midlands LETB directly if you have unanswered questions - most will have a helpdesk number.
  • Read the Specialty Training quick guide for information on what to expect, what is involved, how the recruitment process works and where to find out more.
  • View our Medical Careers Videocasts - offering you an insight into a variety of specialty careers.
  • Know your timescales.

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Other Resources

The Specialty School pages will support and inform you about your application to specialty training posts in Hospital Medicine/Secondary Care, GP/Primary Care, and Public Health. It also provides a list of school contacts and Training Programme Directors.

Other Faculties and Colleges

General Practice Recruitment Office
Faculty of Public Health
Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)
College of Emergency Medicine (CEM)
Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RC Obs & Gynae)
Royal College of Psychiatrists (RC Psych)
Royal College of Radiologists
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RCP Glas)
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCS Edin)  
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine
Royal College of Ophthalmologists
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCP Edin)
Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS Eng)
Royal College of Physicians of London (RCS Lon)
Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCS Ire)
Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom
Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health
Royal College of Anaesthetists
Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath)
Faculty of Occupational Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians

Medical Careers
Contains information about specialty training, applications to specialty training as well as relevant up to date video and podcasts.

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