Before making the decision of starting your road to the UK, fair knowledge about the scope in your chosen specialty MUST be obtained in order to allow for better planning and preparation. And that’s why, every year, the Health Education of England publishes competition ratios to give us an idea of what we can expect.
How to make sense of it?
The first thing you need to understand is if your specialty is run-through or uncoupled. Now what does that mean?
If it’s run-through:
The training starts at ST1. Core training is not separate from the specialty training.
You can gain entry from ST1-ST4 level depending on your experience, competencies, and their vacancies.
If it’s uncoupled:
Core training is separate from specialty training.
Either you’ll have to finish core training in the UK or have your core competencies signed before you can apply at ST3 level where this specialty training starts.
Remember that some specialties need the MSRA exam before you can apply, while others are content with just conducting interviews.
It’s not as plain and simple as we’d like it to be unfortunately, but don’t despair! For an IMG, there may be an extra step or hoop to jump through in regards to waiting for Round 2 in order to apply (unless you have a settled visa), but that doesn’t mean you will never be able to apply for the specialty of your choice.
If you are passionate about wanting to pursue a certain post, by waiting 5 years (and working as a non-training doctor during this time) until you obtain your ILR, you can then apply in Round 1, thereby heightening your chances of securing a spot in your chosen training.
What is ‘ST3 Clearing’?
Not always you will have to wait to be settled to apply for round 1 at ST3 level in some specialties. As the main ST3 recruitment round 1 draws to a close a period of national ‘clearing’ will be introduced only for specialties using the cascadable application model:
Acute internal medicine
Endocrinology and diabetes,
Geriatric medicine and
If you are subject to Resident labor market test (RLMT), you will be considered after all other eligible candidates, in round 1.
We hope that you’ve formed an idea of what you need to work towards in order to secure your future in your specialty of choice. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to ask. Good luck!