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Applicant guidance

To view the applicant guidance, please expand the relevant chapters below or download a copy from the resource bank.

This applicant guide is intended to help you make the best possible applications, starting with your specialty choices and continuing through the entire application process. In addition to reading this guide you must also ensure that you read the specialty specific guidance for the specialty/specialties to which you are considering making an application. Specialty specific guidance will be available from the recruitment leads for the individual specialties.

The majority of specialty recruitment is organised nationally by one of the Royal Colleges or by a lead HEE local office/Deanery on behalf of all local offices and deaneries. This means that you complete one online application and state your preferred local office/Deanery, rather than submitting multiple applications.

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The following table shows the lead recruiters for 2018:

Specialty

Level

Lead Recruiter

Acute Medicine

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

ACCS Emergency Medicine

ST1

HEE – London and the South East

Allergy

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Anaesthetics and ACCS Anaesthetics

CT1

HEE – West Midlands

Anaesthetics

ST3

HEE – West Midlands

Audiovestibular Medicine

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Cardiology

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Cardiothoracic Surgery

ST1 ST3

HEE – Wessex

Clinical Genetics

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Clinical Neurophysiology

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Clinical Oncology

ST3

HEE – London and the South East

Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Clinical Radiology

ST1

HEE – London and the South East

Combined Infection Training

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Community Sexual and Reproductive Health

ST1

HEE – East of England

 

 

Specialty

Level

Lead Recruiter

Core Medical Training and ACCS Acute Medicine

CT1

Royal College of Physicians

Core Psychiatry Training

CT1

HEE – North West

Core Surgical Training

CT1

HEE – London and the South East

Dermatology

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Diagnostic Neuropathology

ST3

HEE – London and the South East

Emergency Medicine – Direct Route of Entry

ST3

HEE – Yorkshire and the Humber

Emergency Medicine

ST4

HEE – Yorkshire and the Humber

Endocrinology and Diabetes

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Gastroenterology

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

General Practice

ST1

GP National Recruitment Office

General Surgery and Vascular Surgery

ST3

HEE – London and the South East

Genitourinary Medicine

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Geriatric Medicine

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Haematology

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Histopathology

ST1

HEE – London and the South East

Immunology

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Intensive Care Medicine

ST3

HEE – West Midlands

Medical Oncology

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Medical Ophthalmology

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Metabolic Medicine

ST3

HEE – East Midlands

Neurology

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Neurosurgery

ST1 ST3

HEE – Yorkshire and the Humber

 

 

Specialty

Level

Lead Recruiter

Nuclear Medicine

ST3

HEE – London and the South East

Obstetrics and Gynaecology

ST1

HEE – North West

Occupational Medicine

ST3

HEE – London and the South East

Ophthalmology

ST1 ST3

HEE - South West

Oral and Maxillo Facial Surgery

ST1 ST3

HEE - South West

Otolaryngology (ENT)

ST3

HEE – Yorkshire and the Humber

Paediatric and Perinatal Pathology

ST3

HEE – London and the South East

Paediatric Cardiology

ST4

HEE – Wessex

Paediatric Surgery

ST3

HEE – Yorkshire and the Humber

Paediatrics

ST1

ST2

HEE – West Midlands

Paediatrics

ST3

ST4

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Palliative Medicine

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Plastic Surgery

ST3

HEE – London and the South East

Public Health

ST1

HEE - East Midlands

Rehabilitation Medicine

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Renal Medicine

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Respiratory Medicine

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Rheumatology

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Sport and Exercise Medicine

ST3

Royal College of Physicians

Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery

ST3

HEE – Yorkshire and the Humber

Urology

ST3

HEE – Yorkshire and the Humber

 

Further information on the lead recruiters can be found on the Recruitment Leads page of the Oriel recruitment system: https://www.oriel.nhs.uk/Web/RecruitmentLead

Each recruitment office is responsible for some or all of the following:

  • advertising vacancies
  • providing information on the recruitment process
  • receiving applications
  • longlisting applications against a set of agreed eligibility criteria
  • shortlisting based on set criteria and scoring systems
  • interviewing and selecting successful applicants
  • making offers and receiving acceptances

Specialty recruitment is split into five recruitment rounds throughout the year.  It is important that applicants familiarise themselves with which round the specialty that they wish to apply to is being recruited.

  • Academic Recruitment – Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF) posts in England are advertised and recruited to.  This round encompasses appointments to ACFs at all levels.

    Adverts will appear in October 2017
     
  • Round 1 – this encompasses recruitment to all CT1/ST1 specialty training programmes, across the UK and some run through specialties at higher entry levels.  Posts appointed in this round will normally start in August 2018 and generally no later than December 2018

    Adverts will appear in November 2017
     
  • Round 2 – this is the first time that ST3 and ST4 specialties in uncoupled training programmes will be advertised.  This round may also include ST3 entry level posts in run through specialties.  Posts advertised in this round will normally commence between August 2018 and December 2018.

    Adverts will appear in late January 2018
     
  • Round 1 Re-Advert – where training programmes advertised in Round 1 remain vacant, a second round, known as Round 1 re-advert is run to try and fill the remaining posts.

    Adverts will appear in February 2018
     
  • Round 2 Re-Advert – this round encompasses all recruitment for posts starting later than December 2018, but before August 2019. Generally, posts advertised in this round will have a commencement date in February 2019.  Not all specialties will advertise in this round.  This round includes adverts for posts at all entry levels and is not limited to CT1/ST1 or ST3/ST4 like some of the earlier recruitment rounds.

When deciding which posts and specialties to apply for, applicants are advised to consider carefully the likely levels of competition involved and be prepared to be flexible about their specialty choices; not all applicants will be successful in getting a place in their first choice specialty and/or region.

The medical specialty training website http://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk provides direct links to competition ratios from previous recruitment rounds.

These figures do not show what will happen in 2018, but offer a broad indication of the most and least subscribed specialties and areas in the previous recruitment year.

Applicants applying to Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACFs) will need to meet the criteria in both the clinical and ACF person specifications.

Applicants are required to demonstrate appropriate competence in both an academic and a clinical interview for the specialty to which they are applying.

Applicants who currently hold a National Training Number (NTN) or Deanery Reference Number (DRN) which required clinical interview in the GMC specialty associated with the ACF, at the same level of training, will not be required to attend a further clinical interview.  These applicants will only be required to attend the integrated clinical-academic interview as they will have met the requirements of the clinical interview previously. 

Applicants holding a Deanery Reference Number for core training, who are applying for an academic post at a higher training level must attend and be deemed appointable at a clinical interview at the level that matches that of the ACF being applied for (e.g. CT2, ST3, ST4).

Applicants applying for NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowships who require clinical benchmarking will be required to complete and submit both an academic application form and the associated clinical application form for the specialty in which they will require clinical benchmarking.  Applicants will be asked in the clinical application form what posts they wish to be considered for; academic only or clinical and academic posts.  It is important that applicants understand the implications of their response to this question as they will not be permitted to change their answer to this at a later date.  It is therefore important that applicants check their application answers fully, prior to submission.  Applicants stating in the clinical application form that they only wish to be considered for academic appointments will not be considered for clinical training programmes, regardless of their performance at selection

Please note: For 2018, this includes applications to ACFs in General Practice and Cardiothoracic Surgery where academic appointments will now be advertised and appointed in line with all other specialties.  Applicants applying for academic posts in either of these specialties will be required to submit applications for both the academic advertisement and the associated clinical advertisement.

If shortlisted, academic applicants will be required to attend an integrated academic interview, consisting of both academic and clinical questions and assessors.  Those who are considered appointable at the academic interview, who do not hold an NTN or DRN in the specialty, will be invited to attend a clinical interview in the same specialty, at the same training level, providing they have also completed the associated clinical application form.  Any academic offers made will be conditional upon meeting the appointability threshold at the clinical interview.

If you are applying to enter specialty training but are unable to train full time, you may apply for less than full time training (LTFT), providing you can show that training on a full time basis would not be practical for you for well-founded reasons.  Well-founded reasons may include, for example, disability, ill health, carer’s responsibilities, religious commitments and unique opportunities for personal or professional development.

Less than full time training must meet the same requirements as full time training, except that there will be fewer hours of work per week.

Please note that you will need to secure a full time post in open competition before you can make an application to work LTFT.  You should apply for eligibility through your current HEE local office/Deanery ahead of this and indicate your desire to work less than full time on your application form.

If you are, or will be, on a Tier 2 visa, your pro rata salary must meet the minimum salary threshold for Tier 2. Please contact the lead recruiter if you are planning to apply for LTFT training.

Many core competences are common across specialty curricula.  When moving from one approved training programme to another, competences gained in core, specialty or general practice training should not have to be repeated, if already achieved.  The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has developed the Accreditation of Transferable Competences Framework (ATCF) to assist trainee doctors in transferring competences achieved in one core, specialty or general practice training programme, where appropriate and valid, to another training programme.

Trainees who decide to change career path could transfer competences achieved in another training programme and reduce the length of their new training programme by a maximum of 2 years.

The ATCF applies only to those moving between periods of GMC approved training and is aimed at the early years of training.  The time to be recognised within the ATCF will need to be reviewed at the trainee’s first Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP), if appointed.  Where accreditation is not granted, trainees will be expected to complete the full training programme.

Applicants wishing to be considered for shortened training through the ATCF route should indicate this on their application form, but apply separately through the region where the post is accepted. 

Please note, the ATCF is not available for all specialties.

Further information on the ATCF is available from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (http://www.aomrc.org.uk/publications/reports-guidance/accreditation-of-transferable-competences-0914/).

Once you have decided which specialty or specialties you wish to apply for it is essential that you first ensure that you are eligible to make an application.  Person specifications are available from https://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk

You should familiarise yourself with the application period, find out where and how you access the application form and make sure you read all the guidance information provided by the lead recruiter for that specialty.

We advise that you do this as soon as possible to ensure that any queries you have can be resolved in good time, ahead of you beginning your application.

There are strict eligibility requirements when applying for specialty training, with some person specification criteria being essential.  If you are applying for more than one specialty, ensure you read the person specification for each specialty/level to which you are applying.

Planning your application choices

You can make as many applications as you wish to different specialties, providing you meet all the eligibility criteria and required competences of the post(s) as detailed in the person specification.

Applicants are advised to consider the high level of competition for some specialties and geographies.  Competition for specialties in previous recruitment years can be found at https://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk

Person specifications for jobs

Each specialty (and entry level for training) has a nationally agreed person specification that lists the required competences for that specialty.  When completing applications, applicants will need to provide evidence of achievement of the specified competences; some will need to be demonstrated at time of application, others by commencement of post.

Person specifications are available from: http://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk

Applicants applying to Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACFs) will need to meet the criteria in both the clinical and ACF person specifications.

If an applicant makes a Fitness to Practise declaration on their application form, they must email further details at the time of application.  The approach taken will depend on the recruitment model used by the specialty to which the applicant is applying.  Applicants should email their supporting information to either the lead recruiter or the region in which they are being interviewed/considered for appointment.  Each specialty lead recruiter will advise on the process that should be followed. 

Supporting information should provide, as a minimum:

  • The specialty and level applied to
  • Applicant full name
  • Application ID
  • An outline of the events leading to the Fitness to Practise issue
  • The date/s of the event/s
  • A reflection on the event and the outcome of any investigation/action

Further details on the nature of the declaration may be requested and should be provided prior to the deadline for submission of applications.  Failure to provide this detail by the closing date may result in the application being rejected.

UK and EEA nationals and doctors whose immigration status entitles them to work as a doctor in training in the UK are eligible to apply for specialty training.  Evidence of immigration status would be a biometric residence card, date stamped passport and/or identity card.  These documents need to be dated as at or prior to the application closing date.

Please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration for more information.

Other non-UK or non-EEA nationals with limited leave to remain in the UK, whose employment will require a Tier 2 visa, are subject to the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) and would only be considered for appointment if there were no suitable UK or EEA national (settled status) candidates for the post.

Applicants will be asked to bring their date stamped passport and/or identity card together with proof of their immigration status to any interviews or assessment centres.

Applicants in the following categories are eligible to be considered for appointment in both Round 1, Round 1 re-adverts (CT1/ST1 recruitment) and Round 2 (ST3/ST4 recruitment):

  • UK or EEA national
  • Non-UK or non-EEA national where immigration status allows work without restriction in the UK e.g. those holding dependant status with no restriction against working as a doctor or dentist in training.
  • Already on Tier 2, applying to continue training with the same sponsor and/or the same training number.
  • Applying for a specialty in a shortage occupation.
  • Non-UK or non-EEA national who has graduated from a UK medical or dental school, who currently has UK Tier 4 status to work in the Foundation Programme. Applicants in this category will need to apply for Tier 2 sponsorship, but will be exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) if they have had continuous immigration status in the UK since graduation. 
  • Non-UK or non-EEA national who currently has Tier 4 status to complete a Masters or PhD.  Applicants must have completed their Masters or completed 1 year of their PhD to be exempt from the RLMT.

Please note: In 2018, applicants to General Practice who are subject to the Resident Labour Market Test will be considered for appointment in Round 1.

The following applicants can apply and be considered for appointment in core and specialty training in Round 2:

  • Already on Tier 2 and applying for a different specialty and changing sponsor. Applicants in this category will require Tier 2 sponsorship and will be subject to the RLMT.
  • Non-UK or non-EEA national who has limited leave to remain in the UK, who does not fall into one of the above categories. Applicants in this category will require Tier 2 sponsorship and will be subject to the RLMT.
  • Non-UK or non-EEA national who does not currently hold a UK visa status.  Applicants in this category will require Tier 2 sponsorship and will be subject to the RLMT.

Please note: Where immigration status changes part way through a recruitment round, this could change an applicant’s right to work status.  Any applicants in this position should contact the lead recruiter immediately.  If applicants have already been rejected from the process due to their immigration status at the point of application, they cannot be reinstated if their status changes at a later stage.

From 6 April 2017, the Home Office require those applying to come to the UK as a Tier 2 doctor or dentist in training, and their adult dependants, to produce a criminal record certificate from any country in which they have been resident for 12 months or more, consecutively or cumulatively, in the previous 10 years, aged 18 or over.

If applicants are successful in being appointed to a training programme in the UK, and require Tier 2 sponsorship, they will be required to provide the criminal record certificate to the Home Office when they make their visa application. As it can take some time to obtain a criminal record certificate, applicants should begin the process of seeking certificates, if required, at the earliest opportunity.  Please note, that this is for entry clearance applications only, so will only be applicable if applying from outside the UK.

Details of how to obtain such a check from the relevant authorities abroad is available on the Home Office website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/criminal-records-checks-for-overseas-applicants

If the country concerned is not listed, please contact the relevant embassy or consulate for further details. Contact details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foreign-embassies-in-the-uk

All applicants to CT1/ST1 posts are required to provide evidence of achievement of Foundation Competence within the 3 years prior to the intended commencement date for the advertised post(s). 

The acceptable methods for demonstrating foundation competences are:

  • Currently on a Foundation Programme

Applicants currently undertaking a recognised foundation programme in the UK[1] which is due to finish in August 2018, will need to confirm the name of their Foundation School but do not need to submit any other evidence at the point of application. Any offer of a training programme will be conditional upon successful completion of the Foundation Programme and being awarded a Foundation Programme Certificate of Completion (FPCC) before August 2018.   

 

  • Already completed a Foundation Programme

Applicants who have already completed a UK Foundation Programme will be asked to confirm that they have been awarded an FPCC or an FACD 5.2, signed no earlier than 1st January 2015. A scanned copy of the FPCC or FACD 5.2 MUST be uploaded to the Oriel application.

  • Currently on a Specialty Training Programme

Applicants currently in active clinical or clinical and academic practice in a UK educationally approved training post (CT/ST/LAT or equivalent), holding either a National Training Number (NTN) or Deanery Reference Number (DRN) will be considered as having had their foundation competences assessed on entry to their current post and do not need to demonstrate these again, regardless of when foundation competences were signed off.

Applicants in this category, who relinquish their NTN or DRN between the time of application and commencement will be required to submit an Alternative Certificate of Foundation Competence for the period out of training.

Applicants who do not fall into any of the above categories will be required to submit an Alternative Certificate of Foundation Competence signed by a consultant who has supervised them for at least 3 months (whole time equivalent and continuous period) since 1st January 2015.  Applicants may submit multiple Alternative Certificates, from different posts to show evidence of achievement of all competences.  All submitted certificates must relate to posts undertaken for at least 3 months (whole time equivalent and a continuous period) since January 2015.  Scanned copies of the certificates MUST be attached to the Oriel application form. Original document(s) will be requested at a later date.

When submitting an Alternative Certificate, all competences must be signed as achieved at the time of application. 

Alternative Certificates will be accepted where the assessed post has been wholly undertaken in the 3½ years prior to the commencement of the training post to which the applicant is applying; even if the form is not the one dated 2018.  Applicants to General Practice are given an extended deadline.  Full guidance is available from the General Practice National Recruitment Office.

The only exception to this is if you are a refugee.  Refugees (as defined on the UKVI website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration) are advised to contact the recruiting organisation for further guidance but should submit an Alternative Certificate, if possible.

In addition, applicants are required to have had 12 months experience after achieving full GMC registration, or equivalent by the start date for the post they are applying for. 

 

[1] UK Affiliated Foundation Programmes include those in Malta.  The Maltese Foundation School awards the Foundation Programme Certificate of Competence (and previously FACD 5.2) to the same standards as other UK Foundation Schools and as such is considered equivalent.

Acceptable forms of evidence for demonstration of core competence will vary between specialties.  Please refer to specialty specific guidance for further information.

All applications are in an electronic format and are to be completed online through Oriel.

Contact regarding applications will be via direct messaging through Oriel.  Applicants are therefore advised to log into their Oriel accounts regularly throughout the recruitment process.

Most recruitment offices will also send applicants an email to a stated email address, however, these emails should not be relied upon and delivery cannot be guaranteed as they are being sent external to Oriel.  

Many specialties are recruiting by means of a national process. In these specialties, you will be able to make a single application where you are asked to state your order of preference between different geographical locations.

To ensure a fair, legal and equitable process, where shortlisting takes place, the people completing the shortlisting will not see your personal details when they consider your application.

Before starting an application, applicants should ensure that they:

  • Read all supporting documentation – Applicants should ensure that they read all available documentation before commencing an application to understand what is required of them e.g. specialty specific applicant guidance, criteria contained within the person specification, any mandatory documentation that needs to be uploaded to the application form

 

  • Gather evidence – Applicants should ensure that they have gathered all evidence required to complete the application form e.g. dates and titles of qualifications, publications, presentations, research, audit etc.  If invited to interview, original evidence of these will all need to be provided.

 

Please note: Your portfolio of evidence MUST NOT contain patient identifiable data and should only include your own original work.

 

  • Career research – Applicants need to be able to demonstrate reasons for applying for a specialty and what they can bring in terms of skills and personal attributes.
     
  • Plan time – Work out how long it will realistically take to complete the application form, including getting feedback from colleagues.


The application form will take some time to complete so applicants should ensure they allow enough time to complete the form and submit it ahead of the published deadline.Under no circumstances will late applications be considered.

 

  • Referees – Referees should be contacted at the earliest opportunity to confirm that they are happy to support the application and provide a reference.


Applicants will need to provide details, including up to date email addresses of three referees who have supervised clinical training in the last 2 years.Those applying to more than one specialty may opt to nominate different referees for each specialty.

It is important that applicants confirm referee email addresses prior to completing the application form.Once offers have been accepted, referees will be contacted by email with details of their referee account.It is therefore important that email addresses provided are correct and for email accounts that are regularly accessed.

 

  • Key content of application forms – Applicants MUST ensure that any work submitted or referenced is their own.  Any plagiarism in applications will be treated extremely seriously and will result in further action being taken.


Submitted application forms will need to pass an eligibility check before they can be considered for shortlisting and/or interview.Recruitment teams will ensure that application forms meet the following eligibility criteria in addition to any other specialty specific criteria:
 

  • Immigration status and right to work in the UK
  • GMC (and GDC) registration, if required
  • English language skills as per the eligibility criteria and as demonstrated by registration with the appropriate regulator
  • Any examination/competency/experience requirements in line with the post
     

By allowing applicants to progress to the shortlisting and/or interview stage, recruitment offices have not accepted or confirmed that applicants meet eligibility requirements.Applicants may still be withdrawn from the recruitment process at any stage, including after interviews have taken place if the evidence pertaining to an eligibility criterion is found to be unsatisfactory by the recruitment office.


When completing the employment history section of the application form all previous clinical experience should be declared; this includes experience both inside and outside of the UK, in both training and service posts.Applicants should also ensure that they detail any time spent out of work to ensure that there are no unexplained career gaps.

Please note: Recruitment offices will not be able to make any changes to submitted application forms on Oriel.  Applicants must therefore ensure that they check the content of their application form prior to submission as there will be no opportunity to correct mistakes at a later date.

You can make as many applications as you wish to different specialties, providing you meet all the eligibility criteria and required competences of the post(s) as detailed in the person specification.

Applicants are advised to consider the high level of competition for some specialties and geographies.

Applicants can apply for vacancies advertised in later recruitment rounds (e.g. Round 1 Re-Advert, Round 2), even if they have already accepted a post in the first round of recruitment.

Applicants who have already received and accepted an offer of employment must make it known to the recruitment office to which they are applying that they have already secured a post in the first round.  They will also need to notify the recruitment office where they had previously accepted a post.  This should be done by email at the time of application and at interview.  This will not prejudice the application.  This is purely for the benefit of the organisations that are providing patient care, so that they can manage services and maintain standards.

Applicants will also be required to give notice before they can take up the new post.  Even though applicants may not have received their written contracts, they should still discuss the notice required with the employing organisation.

Applicants who are applying to a specialty training programme that they have previously been removed or relinquished/resigned from must declare this on their application form.  Where applicants are applying for higher training (ST3/ST4) having previously been removed from the associated core training programme, this must also be declared.

At the time of application, a Support for Reapplication to Specialty Training form (available from https://www.oriel.nhs.uk/Web/ResourceBank) must be completed, approved by the previous Training Programme Director/Head of School and previous Postgraduate Dean and submitted at the time of application to the confidential email address supplied by the lead recruiter for the specialty (Please see Annex E for email addresses).  Failure to provide this documentation will result in the application being rejected.  No other evidence will be accepted in support of reapplication.

Applicants who are already in a specialty training programme and are applying again to the same specialty, in another area/region must declare this on their application form.

At the time of application, a Support for Reapplication of Specialty Training in a Different Region form (available from https://www.oriel.nhs.uk/Web/ResourceBank) must be completed, approved by the current Training Programme Director/Head of School and submitted at the time of application to the confidential email address supplied by the lead recruiter for the specialty (Please see Annex E for email addresses).  Failure to provide this information will result in the application being rejected.

Applicants considering applying for the same specialty training programme in another region should communicate this to their existing Training Programme Director/Head of School at the earliest opportunity.  Specialty training vacancies available for recruitment are confirmed well in advance of interviews/selection centres taking place.  Early conversations with existing training programmes could allow for provisional plans to be put in place to replace the trainee, should they be successful in their application.

A process is being implemented, across all specialty recruitment processes, to ensure that applicants with special circumstances and a requirement to train in a particular location are treated in a fair and consistent way.

Any applicant who falls into one of the following eligibility criteria will be pre allocated into the post, subject to it meeting the requirements of their training programme:

  • Criterion 1 – the applicant is the primary carer for someone who is disabled, as defined by the Equality Act 2010
  • Criterion 2 – the applicant has a medical condition or disability for which ongoing follow up for the condition in the specified location is an absolute requirement

Applicants with parental responsibilities: those who fall into this category will be asked to declare this on their application form. We expect that numbers in this category will be high. They will not be pre allocated in the 2018 recruitment process, so this information will not be taken into consideration when running the offers algorithm. However, the information will be used to help us establish how we can improve our systems to better account for parental responsibilities in future recruitment years.

Applying for special circumstances

Applicants wishing to be considered for special circumstances pre allocation should ensure that they state this on their application form and submit supporting evidence by email.   Requests for consideration of special circumstances received in any other way will not be accepted.

Supporting Evidence

Applicants wishing to be considered for special circumstances should complete the special circumstances application form (available from https://www.oriel.nhs.uk/Web/ResourceBank) and forward this, together with the following supporting evidence by email to mdrs.nationalrecruitment@hee.nhs.uk, as soon as the application has been submitted electronically.

Criterion 1     

  • Written statement from a general practitioner or social services professional who you will have normally known for at least 6 months, confirming your role as primary carer for this person; and
  • Care plan; and
  • Proof of current address e.g. driving licence, utility bill dated within the last 3 months
     

 

 

 

Criterion 2     

  • A report by the current medical specialist treating your condition or Occupational Health physician, in which they will be required to:

    Describe the current medical condition or disability
    Describe the nature of the ongoing treatment and frequency
    Explain why the follow up must be delivered in a specific location rather than by other treatment centres in the UK; and
     
  • Proof of address

Special circumstances applications will be reviewed by a national eligibility panel and a decision on whether the application has been successful will be communicated to the applicant.

Where the applicant is unhappy with the decision of the national eligibility panel, they are permitted to submit an appeal to the national review panel.  The decision of the national review panel will be final.

Allocation

Applicants who have been approved as having a special circumstance will be pre-allocated into the region of their choice, subject to the following criteria being met:

  • Applicant is deemed appointable at interview/selection centre
  • Applicant is ranked highly enough to receive an offer e.g. if there are 10 posts available, applicant will need to rank in the top 10
  • The region the applicant wishes to be allocated to can fulfil all requirements of the curriculum for the specialty for which they have applied

If all of these conditions are met, the applicant will be pre allocated into the preferred region, before the main offers algorithm is run.  Applicants are not guaranteed their preferred programme within the preferred region.  Special circumstances applicants will be offered the highest ranked post within that region that they would have been offered, had the normal offers process run.  Where applicants with special circumstances would not have been offered a post in the preferred region, they will be pre allocated one of their ranked programmes within that region.

Where applicants with special circumstances do not rank highly enough to be offered a post in the first round of offers they will be placed on a reserve list, pending more posts becoming available or offers being declined.  There is no guarantee of matching special circumstances applicants to preferred locations after the first round of offers has been completed.  An applicant without special circumstances who has accepted a post in the preferred location of an applicant with special circumstances will not be displaced to allow allocation of the applicant with special circumstances.

When ranking preferences, applicants with approved special circumstances must ensure that they only rank programmes/posts that they are willing to accept and undertake.  Applicants will be allocated based on these preferences.

When choosing posts, applicants must ensure that they meet the eligibility for those posts.  This includes applicants who are currently on, or will require a Tier 2 visa.  Where the choice of post requires the applicant to meet the Resident Labour Market Test, the offer cannot be pre allocated.

Applicants can have a change in circumstances for any number of reasons in the time between programme/post preferences being made and offers being released.  To assist applicants in this situation, flexibility around preferencing has been introduced for 2018 recruitment.

For applicants who have accepted or held a post, there will be an option to select upgrade options which not only include those posts/programmes that were originally ranked higher than the offered post, but also those that were ranked lower.

Please note: Any changes to preferences made between the offers algorithm being run and offers being released will not be considered until the next offers match is run.

Applicants who have not been made an offer may also have a change in circumstances that requires them to make amendments to their expressed preferences.  Specialties will keep their programme/post preferencing open throughout the recruitment process, but will close this off before each offer algorithm is run, until the offers have been released.

These processes will continue up until the upgrading deadline in each recruitment round (see recruitment timeline for exact dates).

Applicants who accept a post, but would like to try and swap this for another post should contact the lead recruiter as soon as possible.  Whilst the swap cannot be guaranteed, recruiters will try and accommodate this, where possible. 

Applicants who would be happy for either their post or their partner’s post to be swapped should contact their lead recruiters independently, but ensure that they mention their partner and the specialty that they have accepted.  This will allow the lead recruiters to liaise with each other to try and agree a mutual acceptable swap.

Facilitated placements will be reviewed as soon as a request is received.  There will not be a national timeline in which to review these.

Where there is competition for a particular post, swaps will be facilitated based on each applicant’s priority category.  In this situation, applicants will be required to submit evidence to the lead recruiter to confirm their category. 

Lead recruiters will inform applicants when supporting evidence is required.  There is no need to submit this until requested to do so.   

Priority 1

  • Applicant is the primary carer for someone who is disabled, as defined by the Equality Act 2010
  • Applicant has a medical condition or disability for which ongoing follow up for the condition in the specified location is an absolute requirement

Priority 2

  • Committed relationship - this refers to the relationship a trainee has with a partner (husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend) and not with other family members or friends
    • Both parties are in the application process, either in the same specialty or different specialties
    • One party is in the application process and the other is already in medical training
    • One party is in the application process and the other is not currently in medical training
  • Significant responsibility to care for another person, whether solely or as part of a group, where these do not fall into Priority 1 e.g. parental responsibility

Priority 3

  • Applicants not covered under any other eligibility criteria e.g. individual who wants to be in a particular region but has no apparent ties to it

Where there is competition for posts within a priority category, allocations will be made based on the interview/selection score obtained.

Supporting Evidence

Priority 1

Primary carer for someone with a disability

  • Written statement from a general practitioner or social services professional who you will have normally known for at least 6 months, confirming your role as primary carer for this person; and
  • Care plan; and
  • Proof of current address e.g. driving licence, utility bill dated within the last 3 months
     

Has a medical condition or disability

  • A report by the current medical specialist treating your condition or Occupational Health physician, in which they will be required to:

    Describe the current medical condition or disability
    Describe the nature of the ongoing treatment and frequency
    Explain why the follow up must be delivered in a specific location rather than by other treatment centres in the UK; and
     
  • Proof of address e.g. driving licence, utility bill dated within the last 3 months

 

Priority 2

Committed relationship

  • Marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate; or
  • 2 pieces of evidence of shared financial responsibility e.g. joint bank account statements, utility bills, joint mortgage/tenancy agreement; or
  • 1 piece of evidence of shared financial responsibility and 1 piece of evidence from the following list:
    Evidence of regular transfer of funds to partners account on bank statement
    Letter of intent from mortgage lender/letting agent
    Letter of intent to marry from religious leader
    Wedding venue deposit receipts
  • If you are applying because your partner has a job offer in another region you will also have to supply evidence of this in addition to the above
    If partner is a medic, please provide confirmation of training letter, including start date
    If partner is a non-medic, please provide official job offer letter or contract, including start date

Caring responsibilities (not covered in Priority 1)

  • Copy of birth certificate(s) for the child(ren); or
  • For legal guardians, a copy of the legal document that confirms your status for the child named in the birth certificate; or
  • Statement confirming that you have significant caring responsibilities for the child(ren) from an appropriate professional who would normally have known you for a least 6 months; and
  • Proof of address e.g. driving licence, utility bill dated within the last 3 months

Priority 3

Applicants applying under this category will not be required to provide any supporting evidence.

Applicants requesting a facilitated placement should ensure that they are eligible for the post/s they request to swap into.  If an applicant is currently on, or will require a Tier 2 visa, they will need to ensure that the posts that they request will not require them to meet the Resident Labour Market Test. 

Applicants are only eligible for one facilitated placement per recruitment year.

In shortlisting, applications are scored according to their content, e.g. applicants’ experience, achievements, qualifications, etc. The scoring systems used are based upon the nationally agreed person specification.

Not all specialty recruitment processes use shortlisting.

Where applicable, details of the scoring scheme should be made available to applicants.

Where shortlisting takes place applications that pass the eligibility checks will go ahead to be scored. The top-scoring applicants will be invited to interview or assessment. Typically, more applicants will be invited to interview than the number of posts available.

Due to the large volume of applicants, some recruitment offices will only contact applicants if they are being invited to interview.

Applicants who are unsuccessful at the shortlisting stage, will receive feedback from the lead recruiter.  This will consist of the following:

  • Applicant’s shortlisting score and/or rank
  • Maximum possible shortlist score
  • Shortlist score and/or rank required to be invited to interview

Where applicants feel that their application has not been managed correctly and have evidence of a failure in the process, there is a national complaints procedure.  Applicants should contact the specialty recruitment office if they have any concerns about their application, or would like to know more about the complaints procedure.

Some interviews in 2018 for specialty training will be arranged locally by HEE local offices/Deaneries, however many specialties now arrange national centres or clustered interviews where applicants will be considered for appointment across a number of regions.

Most specialties recruit by means of a national process handled by a lead HEE local office/Deanery, or Royal College on behalf of all appointing regions and these processes may vary in arrangements.

You should be given at least five working days’ notice of any interview, however notice may be less if late interview slots arise due to other applicants withdrawing from the process. You will be informed of the reason for the late notice if this occurs.

Assessment centre/interview dates will be published by recruitment offices well in advance and applicants should consider these when applying for posts.

Applicants who accept another offer, after booking an interview, should ensure they inform the appropriate recruitment office as soon as possible in order that they can be withdrawn from the interview.

Applicants will be asked to declare on their application form if they have a disability as set out in the Equality Act 2010 and whether they wish to be considered under the Guaranteed Interview Scheme. This information will not be available to shortlisting panels. Further information is available from:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/RightsAndObligations/index.htm

Recruiters will ensure, where possible, that reasonable adjustments are made at interview to meet the needs of applicants with disabilities. Applicants must ensure that they include this on their application form and enter an early dialogue with the recruiting organisation.  Failure to provide the requested information and documentation to the recruiting organisation by the stated deadline will result in adjustments and/or Guaranteed Interview Scheme status not being met.

Many specialties publish information about interviews and selection centres on their recruitment websites.

Interviews last for a minimum of 30 minutes.  The main aim of the interview is to ensure that applicants meet the requirements of the person specification and that the best applicants are selected.

The structure and content of interviews will vary across specialties and levels.  Recruitment offices will normally inform applicants of the format of the interview or selection centre, including the number of stations and competences being assessed.

Interviewers may have access to anonymised application forms of interview candidates but will not have access to the equal opportunities or personal data.

Interview panel members will individually complete a scoresheet for each candidate and make any comments.  The aggregate score given by all panel members, taking into account any associated weighting, will be the final score of the interview.

Applicants will be given clear information on what will be required of them at interview.  As a minimum, the following documents (originals and copies) should be provided:

  • Proof of identity (e.g. passport or other photo ID)
  • Evidence of all qualifications listed on the application form (translated if necessary)
  • Full GMC registration with a licence to practise
  • Evidence of competences cited on the application form
  • Evidence of educationally approved posts cited on the application form
  • Nationality/immigration status
  • Evidence of skills in written and spoken English

When invited to interview, applicants need to consider ways to provide evidence of having met Foundation and other required competences.  In some specialties, applicants will be asked to bring their professional portfolios to interview with them.  Relevant evidence may include:

  • Trainers’ reports
  • Logbook of clinical activity
  • Audits
  • Written workplace assessments e.g. mini-PAT, mini-CEX, CbD, DOPS

These are just some examples and should not be taken as an exhaustive list; many specialties openly publish information which will assist applicants in their preparation.  It is important that applicants check what is required in the specialty applied for.

Where portfolios are used as part of the assessment, applicants should be prepared to answer questions on the parts of their professional portfolio that link to statements made in the application form.  Applicants should be prepared to provide evidence for every statement made in the application form.

Access to e-portfolio will not be available at the interview/selection centre and therefore portfolios should be presented in hard copy format.  Guidance on creating a portfolio for selection purposes is available on from https://www.oriel.nhs.uk/Web/ResourceBank.

Please note: Portfolios MUST NOT contain patient identifiable data and must only include the applicant’s own original work.  In previous recruitment years there have been examples where some applicants have presented work which is not their own.  If this happens, evidence will be collected and the applicant concerned will be reported to the Clinical Lead and Recruitment Lead at the interview/selection centre.

In preparation for interviews/selection centres, applicants should ensure that they do the following:

  • Inform their current employer of potential leave requirements for attending interviews/selection centres in anticipation of being shortlisted and coordinate with colleagues wherever possible
  • Discuss with clinical tutors or local consultants within the specialty about the types of areas the interviewers/assessors may seek to address
  • Read and follow any specific guidance given for that specialty about how documentation should be prepared and anything else which may need to be prepared in advance of the day
  • Plan the journey to the interview/selection centre to ensure arrival in plenty of time

Investigate with the recruitment office whether travel expenses will be paid for attending the interview/selection centre.  It should not be assumed that all costs will be reimbursed

Internet and/or telephone interviews are not permitted.  All interviews should be conducted face to face.

All specialty training offers will be made through Oriel.

Appointments to training programmes or posts will be offered in rank order, based on selection scores.

Not all candidates deemed eligible for appointment by the interview/selection panel will be offered a post as recruitment offices will invite more applicants to interview than posts available.

Following interview and/or assessment, the recruitment office will contact applicants, if successful, with news of an offer.  Unsuccessful applicants will receive a message informing them that they have not been successful on this occasion.

Applicants deemed eligible for appointment who rank below the number of vacancies available, could still receive an offer, if offers made to higher ranked candidates are rejected.

In the period between submitting an application and offers being made, applicants will be asked to specify their regional/geographical preferences.  Preference choices are ranked in Oriel.

The preferences made by applicants will be used, along with final selection rank to determine which offer, if any, they receive. 

From the 2018 recruitment process, applicants will have the opportunity to express their preferences throughout the recruitment prices as applicants’’ circumstances can change between the time of application and the time that offers are released.

For applicants who have accepted or held a post, there will also be the opportunity to change upgrade options to allow a post/programme that was originally ranked lower than the offered post to become an upgrade option. 

The order offers will be made in will be determined solely on the selection score and permissions to work in the UK, not preferences made.  An applicant’s preferences will only come into play when that applicant is reached in the ranked list and an offer is due.

Applicants who are not prepared to accept an offer of training in a certain region/geographical area, should not rank it in their preferences (i.e. it should be added to the not wanted column).  Applicants who choose this option, will never receive an offer for that particular preference, even if this means that the offer will go to a lower ranked applicant.

Preference choices should be made solely on desirability of the associated post for the individual applicant, not the perceived desirability for all applicants.  Ranking a less popular preference highly will have no bearing on when an offer will be made. 

By ranking a preference, applicants are stating that they would be prepared to undertake a training programme in that area.  Applicants should not preference or accept posts if they are unable to commence training in that particular post.  If you are made an offer and decline it, you will be withdrawn from the process and will not be made any further offers for that specialty.

Interview panels will not have access to applicants’ preferences.

Applicants receiving training offers through Oriel will have the option to accept, decline or hold (until a set date) the offer made.  Applicants will be given 48 hours (excluding weekends but including bank holidays) from release of the offer to decide whether to accept, reject or hold it.

Offers which are not responded to within the 48 hour deadline will expire and will be offered to another applicant.

Applicants should only preference and accept posts that they are willing to undertake.

Applicants intending to decline a training offer are advised to do so as soon as possible to enable the offer to be made to another applicant.

Applicants who do not initially receive an offer may still be offered at a later date, during the process of re-offering declined and expired offers.

Applicants who fail to respond to their offer within the 48 hours and allow it to expire, but who would have liked to accept the post, should contact the recruitment office, at the earliest opportunity.  Where possible, recruitment offices will look to reinstate applicants, however, as recycling of the initial offer may have already taken place, there is no guarantee that the applicant will receive an offer or that it will be the same offer as initially received.

Applicants who are still waiting for offers following interviews should not be alarmed to see the same specialties advertised again in the next recruitment round.  No offers will be made until the list of appointable candidates from the initial round has been exhausted.  Specialties are re-advertised based on the knowledge that there will still be opportunities available.

 

Response

Conditions attached to the response

Accept

  • The applicant is excluded from any further offers from this and any other specialty within this recruitment round, with the exception of hierarchical upgrades (up until the hierarchical upgrade deadline)
  • Pre-employment processes commence

 

 

Response

Conditions attached to the response

Accept with upgrades

  • The applicant will have their offer automatically upgraded if a higher ranked preference becomes available.  If an applicant has opted into upgrades, no contact will be made with them prior to the upgrade taking place
  • The upgraded offer becomes the accepted offer and the previously accepted post is released and offered to another applicant
  • No offers will be received from any other specialty unless the offer is a hierarchical upgrade (up until the hierarchical upgrade deadline)
  • Upgrades will continue to be made until the upgrade deadline for the recruitment round

 

Please note: If an improved preference becomes available the current offer will automatically be upgraded.  Applicants are notified of the upgrade by message within their Oriel account.  Applicants should not preference posts that they would not want to be upgraded into.  After an upgrade has been made, there is no opportunity to revert to the previously accepted post.

Holding offers

The held offer can be accepted or declined at any time up until the hold deadline.  Only ONE offer can be held at any time in the same recruitment round.

Before the hold deadline passes, offers must be confirmed as accept, accept with upgrades or decline.  If no action is taken the held offer will expire and will be deemed to have been declined

If a currently held offer is released as a result of holding another specialty’s offer, then the previously held offer will be rejected

Hold without upgrades

  • The applicant is reserving the offer
  • No upgrades by preference will be made
  • Offers from other specialties can still be received
  • The held offer can be accepted or rejected at any time until the hold deadline

 

 

Response

Conditions attached to the response

Hold with upgrades

Applicants receiving offers which are not their first choice preference can select the hold with upgrades option.

  • The candidate is reserving the offer
  • The held offer preference will be automatically upgraded if preferred preferences become available.  Offers from other specialties can still be received.  Applicants who opt into upgrades will have their offer upgraded without further contact being made with them
  • The held offer can be accepted or rejected at any time until the hold deadline

 

 

Please note: Upgrades are automatic when opting to hold with upgrades.  If an improved preference becomes available the current offer will automatically be upgraded.  Applicants are notified of the upgrade by message within their Oriel account.  After an upgrade has been made, there is no opportunity to revert to the previously held post.

Decline

An applicant choosing this option will have their offer removed and will receive no further offers from this specialty within that recruitment round.  Applicants will continue to receive offers from other specialties, if applicable

Please note: If an applicant does not respond to their offer within the 48 hours, this will be interpreted as declining the offer and it will be offered to another applicant

Withdraw

An applicant may withdraw completely from the process up until offers are released and should do so via their Oriel account.

Once an offer has been accepted, applicants wishing to withdraw will need to contact the recruitment office directly

Applicants who receive an offer through Oriel will automatically receive an upgrade, should one become available, if they accept or hold the offer and opt in for upgrades.  Applicants who opt into upgrades will have the option to state which of their preferences they would like to be considered for an upgrade into.  This could include posts that were ranked higher than the offered post, but also those that were originally ranked lower; upgrade options are completely configurable by the applicant.  Should an upgrade option become available and the applicant who has opted in for upgrades is next in line to receive the offer, they will be automatically upgraded to this offer with no option to revert to the original offer.

Applicants can opt out of upgrades at any point.

Applicants who wish to be considered for upgrades into a particular post/programme should opt into this, even if the post/programme is showing no vacancies.  If the post becomes available at a later date, an applicant will not be upgraded into it if they have not opted in, regardless of whether or not it was one of their higher ranked preferences in the original application form.  Once an upgrade has been made there will be no opportunity for the applicant to request that their original acceptance be reinstated.

Offer upgrades are processed once all other offers for the specialty have been responded to.  Upgrades will not be processed at the weekend or on bank holidays.

Please note: Upgrading of offers will not continue beyond the stated upgrade deadline, even if a preferred post becomes available at a later date.  After the upgrade deadline, vacant posts will be offered to the next eligible applicant who has preferenced the post and who has yet to receive an offer, not to applicants who have already accepted a post.  This includes situations whereby an applicant has accepted a Locum Appointment for Training post and an NTN post becomes available.  Applicants are advised to consider this when making their programme preferences.

Depending on the specialty and the number of posts left at the end of the offer process, a clearing process of matching remaining candidates to available posts will be undertaken.  Where clearing takes place, applicants will have the option to re-preference the remaining posts and the offers will then be made in rank order.

This only applies to specialties where applicants are not in contention for all posts nationally at the initial offers stage.

Any offers made are conditional upon the necessary pre-employment checks being carried out successfully.

Successful applicants will receive an offer of employment from their employer (subject to pre-employment checks).  The offer of employment is distinct from the training agreement.  Successful applicants may change employers several times during their training period.

The first employer will need to complete pre-employment checks before the successful applicant can start working for them.  Pre-employment checks are designed to ensure that every doctor working in the NHS is fit and safe to work with patients.  Applicants will be required to make declarations on the application form relating to their honesty and probity.

Checks will include verification of references, fitness to practise updates from the General Medical Council (GMC) or other regulatory bodies, occupational health clearance, Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and immigration status checks. They may also include validation of the evidence presented at the interview, such as English language proficiency and evidence of competence.

Once pre-employment checks have been completed successfully, the employer will confirm new starter details directly with the successful applicant.

An employment contract should be received within two months of starting in post, as per NHS Employers’ guidance.

Applicants are expected to take up any employment they have formally accepted and to work the contracted notice period. Agreed terms, such as the notice period, will apply even if the employment contract has yet to be received.

Applicants unable to take up post on the given start date, due to serving notice, must ensure that they communicate this to the relevant HEE local office/Deanery and employer as soon as possible.

Successful applicants have a responsibility for patients and services. As the GMC’s Good Medical Practice points out, patient care may be compromised if there is insufficient medical cover.

Failure to arrive for work on the start date previously notified by the employer could affect patient services and their care, and may have an adverse impact on the working conditions of medical colleagues. Successful applicants may be in breach of contract if they do not comply with the minimum contractual notice.  The better approach would be to make sure the employer has a reasonable time to make other arrangements (as a minimum, the contractual notice period).

All applicants will be given feedback after each of the following stages of recruitment:

  • Longlisting (if unsuccessful)
  • Shortlisting (if applicable)
  • Interview/selection centre

Interview/selection centre feedback should be given no later than 7 days after the national offer deadline. Where available, the feedback will include the following:

  • Score per interview station
  • Total interview/selection score
  • Maximum interview/selection score available
  • Applicant’s appointability and the minimum score required for appointability (as appropriate)
  • Applicant’s individual ranking.  Please note, if an applicant does not reach the required threshold for appointability, they will not be given a rank.

Applicants can only defer the start of their specialty training programmes on statutory grounds such as personal ill health or maternity leave. Commencement cannot be deferred for reasons such as research.

Applicants who have had a period of ill health or maternity during the training programme from which they are applying will be permitted to defer their entry to specialty training by the same period of time (whole time equivalent).

Applicants who have accepted a General Practice training programme may be permitted to defer for non-statutory reasons, subject to approval.  Further details are available from the General Practice National Recruitment Office website (https://gprecruitment.hee.nhs.uk).

Tier 2 visa applicants wishing to defer should also discuss this with the appropriate Tier 2 sponsor to ensure they can do so under current immigration rules.

There are a number of steps applicants can take to avoid experiencing problems in the recruitment process:

  • Logging into Oriel regularly to check progress on applications and to see if any communication has been received from the recruitment office.  This is particularly important at the time that offers are released when applicants are advised to check their Oriel accounts on a daily basis.


Whilst many recruitment offices will also send communication via email, delivery of emails cannot be guaranteed as they are being sent external to Oriel and should therefore not be relied upon.

 

  • Inform the recruitment office/s of any periods that may cause them to be uncontactable e.g. being on holiday or on call.  Most recruitment offices will consider this, but they should be contacted in advance to discuss whether alternative arrangements can be made.  No guarantees of accommodating alternative arrangements can be offered.  Applicants will still be expected to personally check their accounts regularly during the offers period.

 

  • Plan to submit their application form well in advance of the application deadline.  Typically, during each recruitment round, approximately 60% of applications are submitted in the last 48 hours of the application window.  Due to the volume of applicants completing and submitting applications in the final hours, users can experience the Oriel system running slowly.  Late applications will not be accepted under any circumstances

Applicants may need support, careers information and guidance to help them make the best choices in entering the next round of recruitment.

The region in which they are currently working should be able to offer careers advice, in addition to the advice that can be obtained from senior colleagues and mentors. Trust consultants, clinical tutors and others should be well informed with up to date process details.

If applicants are unsure about local arrangements, the current employer may provide information about how to get confidential advice and support. This information should include for example, contact details for the local Occupational Health Department, employment assistance programmes and other organisations. The British Medical Association’s Doctors for Doctors Unit, for example, gives doctors in distress or difficulty the choice of speaking in confidence to another doctor about a wide variety of issues including the pressures and stresses of work and of the application process.

In summary, the best ways for applicants to receive support at the application or interview stage are as follows:

Current doctors in training:

  • Educational supervisors or Postgraduate Clinical Tutors
  • Careers lead in the trust
  • Director of Medical Education in the trust
  • HEE local office/Deanery careers advisor/support team
  • College Tutors

Doctors in service posts in the UK:

  • Clinical Supervisor
  • Director of Medical Education in the trust
  • HEE local office/Deanery careers support centre
  • College Tutors

Doctors from outside the UK or not in current medical employment who are considering applying for specialty training should contact the HEE local office/Deanery they are planning to apply to and/or relevant Royal College for advice.

In addition, junior doctor colleagues who have recently been through the specialty recruitment process may also be able to offer advice.

Applicants should expect to receive helpful information from the specialty and/or region to which they are applying.

National guidance recommends the following basic elements of applicant support throughout the recruitment process.

Websites should provide clear guidance to applicants including:

  • Up to date information on all recruitment activity; details of posts on offer and application requirements, shortlisting and interview timeframes.
  • Information about posts in the rotation (where possible)
  • An updated Frequently Asked Questions section.
  • Information about shortlisting criteria and weightings, and any scoring scheme used.

Email helpdesk services will be available in each HEE local office/Deanery. The email address will be advertised on the HEE local office/Deanery websites.

Helpdesks will normally respond via email to applicants’ queries within 72 hours. (Queries received within 48 hours of the relevant application deadline will be prioritised.)

All recruitment processes must meet legal requirements. Patient care and safety are the priority concern.

  • As a minimum, all posts must be advertised on NHS Jobs
  • All posts must be advertised for a minimum of 28 days
  • Advertisements, information for applicants and application forms must be clearly structured so that they are accessible to applicants with disabilities and so that applicants can easily find relevant details when carrying out a search
  • All applications must be made electronically
  • Application forms and the interview processes must map to the national person specifications
  • The nationally agreed application form must be used
  • Applicants will be able to apply for multiple training programmes.
  • Random recruitment and selection processes should not be used
  • All applications submitted before the deadline will be considered, provided they meet eligibility requirements as outlined in the relevant person specification
  • Shortlisters and interviewers will not have access to the equal opportunities and Fitness to Practise sections of the application form or personal data.
  • Interviewers will take account of applicants’ portfolios, their structured CV and the summary of their portfolio of evidence
  • Applicants may be asked to bring their portfolios to the interview.  Please refer to specialty specific guidance

Any variation from the national rules would have to be a reasonable and proportionate response to local circumstances and not lead to conspicuously unfair results.

National recruitment offices use a nationally agreed process for handling complaints about recruitment.  Applicants with concerns about the recruitment process or who wish to make a complaint should contact the recruitment office to which they applied to obtain further information on the complaints procedure.

Following completion of a recruitment round, all applicants will be requested to participate in a national feedback survey.  In addition to this, specialties may ask if you can complete a survey specific to their recruitment process.

Feedback responses are completely anonymous but feedback received is used when planning recruitment processes for future years.

Feedback received from previous surveys has resulted in process changes so completion of the survey is recommended.