Post-graduate training in medicine related specialties are very coveted by doctors in the UK. It is important to note that ‘post-graduate training’ and a ‘post-graduate degree’ are not the same thing. A ‘degree’ is awarded following an exam; training is what you gain form your work-experience and other necessary courses laid out by your training curriculum. For example: MRCP is a post-graduate degree/qualification and Acute Medicine speciality training is a post-graduate training.

You can obtain certain post-graduate degrees without being in an approved training post. Again, you may have to obtain some degrees according to your training curriculum. So, both go hand in hand in order to obtain specialist registration under GMC.

How training in medical specialties is structured in the UK

This post is regarding training in medical specialities only. So, training in the UK is divided into three parts:

  1. Foundation training
  2. Core training
  3. Speciality training

Foundation training

If you are a non-UK/EEA medical graduate, then you have three options:

  1. Obtain the equivalent of foundation training outside UK
  2. Obtain the equivalent of foundation training inside UK
  3. Getting into the foundation training by UKFPO.

You can get the certificate of readiness to enter speciality training (CREST) form signed by your overseas consultant if you had worked under them for at least three months after completion of your formal internship/house job.

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The same way, you can start working in the UK as a non-training doctor and after working under a consultant for at least three months, you can get those competences signed off.

More information regarding GMC approved Internship and UKFPO foundation training can be found here.

Getting into UKFPO’s two year foundation training is not applicable for those who have finished formal internship/house job following their graduation. If you hadn’t done your formal internship/house job after graduation for any reason (like taking USMLE, etc), you should do it before you think about moving to the UK. The reason for this is that until or unless you have a right to work i.e. having UK nationality or having spouse visa (NOT dependent visa), it is very difficult to get a post in the foundation training by UKFPO. You will have to take PLAB both ways (UKFPO or home country’s internship), as you did not graduate from UK/EEA.

Core training (Internal Medicine Training)

Core training portion in medical specialities is called “Internal Medicine Training” (IMT). It is a 2 year or 3 year training program, depending on which speciality you want to pursue after that.

For group 1 specialities to pursue following IMT, it will be a 3 year of Internal Medicine Training:

  • Acute Internal Medicine
  • Cardiology
  • Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics
  • Endocrinology & Diabetes Mellitus
  • Gastroenterology
  • Genitourinary Medicine
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases (except when dual with Medical Microbiology or Virology)
  • Neurology
  • Palliative Medicine
  • Renal Medicine
  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Rheumatology

For group 2 specialities, internal medicine training is for 2 years:

  • Allergy
  • Audiovestibular Medicine
  • Aviation & Space Medicine
  • Clinical Genetics
  • Clinical Neurophysiology
  • Dermatology
  • Haematology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases (when dual with Medical Microbiology or Virology)
  • Medical Oncology
  • Medical Ophthalmology
  • Nuclear Medicine
  • Paediatric Cardiology
  • Pharmaceutical Medicine
  • Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Sport and Exercise Medicine.

Internal medicine training is the time when a junior doctor gradually becomes a medical registrar. During this time, a doctor will have to follow the curriculum and finish their MRCP exams in order to be eligible to apply for further speciality training in different branches of medicine in the UK.

Acute Care Common Stem (ACCS) – AM (Acute Medicine)

Read in detail about ACCS-AM in the official website.

Speciality Training

Already mentioned above the different branches of medicine which you can pursue after your internal medicine training. Currently the length of that training is indicative 4 years. During this time you can have special interest in other super-special branches of medicine and you can pursue that as well.

For medicine realted specialty training application in the UK, check here for the eligibility.

After successfully completing all of that, you would be awarded a certificate of completion of training (CCT) with which you can apply to registered as a specialist under GMC and take up a Consultant job. If you bypass IMT, you can go for CESR-CP route of specialist registration.

A flowchart for training in medical specialties

How to get into medicine training in the UK as an IMG

Frequently Asked Questions

So there you have it! A relatively concise breakdown of how to enter into medical specialty training. Hopefully any questions or concerns that you had have been addressed. Good luck!

55 thoughts on “Medicine Training in the UK for International Doctors (IMGs)”

    1. You have work towards getting your foundation competencies a.k.a. CREST form signed off before you apply for core level training. If that takes 1 year, then 1 year, yes.

  1. Hello
    I have a GMC registration via sponsorship and will be doing a non training job for a year
    I want to apy for a CESR-CP in critical care and check the entry requirements but my questions are the following
    If i enter CESR-CP at the level of St3 what kind of visa will i have and how to obtain it ? (Since ky current visa will end when my non training job ends)
    And second question : My GMC registration lasts 5 years but the training will be a bit longer what to do if toward the end of my training ny GMC registration ended ?
    Note i did not do PLabs only MRCP soon

    1. You will receive a skilled worker visa (previously known as Tier 2 visa) from the deanery you will get the post at. Your visa sponsorship will be a part of the whole recruitment process after you are offered a post. You don’t have to make special plans, they will know that you need a visa.

      You GMC registration lasts forever as long as you pay them yearly fees and don’t get struck off because of wrongdoings. Five years is your revalidation time which is just an amalgamation of your yearly appraisals. Read more here – Medical Appraisal and Revalidation in the UK

  2. Sashank Chavali

    hi can you tell me about this,
    can I get into IMT after finishing MRCP in home country just by studying and working in a hospital after graduation.

    1) “can we do IMT for 1-2 years instead of 3 years for getting into group 1 specialties since we have finished entire MRCP?”

  3. Hello there ,I would appreciate some clarification on something. You have kindly mentioned that after internship of 1 year, we can get our crest form signed at a non training job with minimum duration of three months. Could you please tell me if three months of non training is enough to get into CT 1? I’m asking because I remember reading somewhere that after internship ,a whole another year of non training ( equivalent to fy2 ) would be needed to get into core training. I’m interested in psychiatry specifically. I hope my query is clear.
    Also thank you for doing all that you guys are ,for making it easier for the rest of us out there. Cheers and more power to you

  4. Hi! Im Rizza from the Philippines. I am currently working as an Internist in my country for 2 years now. after med school, I finished 1 year internship then 3 years internal medicine residency and passed the specialty boards for Internal Medicine in my country. I plan to apply ST3 renal medicine in the UK through the MTI program. DO i still need to take any exams even if its under MTI? like taking the MRCP first?
    hope you can answer my question. Thank you.

    1. MTI selection criteria is stringent. It is all laid out there, whether they will take you or not, it’s difficult to tell unless you apply and see it through.

  5. sainath tangallapally

    at present i am in med school in ( international higher school of medicine, kyrgyzstan. ) in our country the government is not providing internship but our university has a hospital and if any student need internship they will provide it from our university hospital. But that internship will not given by kyrgyzstan government.
    so if i do my internship from our university hospital, for GMC FULL REGISTRATION ??

  6. sainath tangallapally

    i am sainath tangallapally from India and i am studying MBBS in kyrgyzstan, in kyrgyzstan the government not providing any internship but our school has a government approved hospital and if any student wants to do internship they will provide for 1 year. but they give internship certificate only from our university or collage or hospital. will that internship work for FULL REGISTRATION OF GMC .

    1. The CREST form itself in the beginning clearly says who can sign that, please follow those instructions.

  7. Hi.
    My name is Manuel Abril, I´m 34 years old, nowadays I work as a consultant Interventional Cardiologist here in Baja California, Mexico.
    I completed a 12 months internship, a 12 months social service general practice program, and after a selection process, a coupled, 2 year Internal Medicine, 3 years Cardiology Specialty Training and 2 year sub-specialty Interventional Cardiology Training. Nowadays, and since April 2018, I work as a consultant (non training post).
    I wish to move to UK a practice as a doctor, and following your videos and blogs, I conclude there are two routes: (after EPIC verification and IELTS)
    PLAB1-2 FY1-2 to gain GMC registration —- apply to IMT
    PLAB1-2 + CREST form signed to gain GMC registration —-apply to IMT
    It is important to say this, but I plan to re-start my IMT and Specialty program training in Cardiology again, I don´t mind about time. CESR is not an option, it is very complex to revalidate all the requirements since I don´t have some of the detailed evidence (at least proof of it)
    Am I getting the idea right?. Is there any shorter route to the GMC registration before applying to IMT. After gaining GMC reg, it´s about that?, apply to IMT?. What about MCRP exam, is this one, only to specialties??. I´m a little confused in this last part.
    Thank you very much and congrats with your blog.

    1. Hello, thanks for your long comment. It really enables me to explain things further as I have a better understanding.

      • You do not need to go for UKFPO run FY1-2 to get FULL GMC registration. After passing PLAB 2 you just need to show that you had an acceptable pattern of internship following graduation, or 2 years postgraduate experience (by the sound of it you have it both).
      • CREST form is not related to GMC registration at all. It is related to application for IMT.
      • MRCP is the exam the trainees take WHILE they are in IMT. After IMT when they opt for joining a higher specialty training (like cardiology) they MUST have MRCP completed already.
      1. Thank You very much. Those three points condense a lot of info.
        So, I’m hace to look the different ways to demonstrate My FY1-2 competences to The GMC. Since CREST is not the method here, which is the one that the GMC uses?.
        I understand that once gaining GMC reg. I have to demonstrate this vía CREST to a IMT application but… Which tool GMC uses?
        I need to know this before paying any test or trips because here un México My wallet gets punished by the currency exchange :/
        Thank You VERY VERY much. I love your videos.

  8. If I pass MRCP from my home country Bangladesh and then apply for ST3 in uk…will there be a discrimination in finding better programs ? Does going earlier to UK by passing PLAB more beneficial for passing MRCP in terms of uk-oriented clinical experience?Because my bangladesh-oriented training/clinical experience will be very different from uk…

    1. Along with MRCP there are other entry criteria for ST3. The major one being – ALTERNATIVE CORE COMPETENCIES. You have to obtain that by working non-training posts in the UK or from equivalent working level outside UK (in this route you have to prove your non-UK work is equivalent to UK training-which may be impossible!)
      So if you take the non-training job first and gain alternative core competencies from a UK consultant and already have the MRCP completed – you are equivalent to everyone else. The entry criteria is made that way that you can’t be non-equivalent and apply. But having Internal Meidicine Training doen in the UK prior to ST3 obviously will be a better option in terms of your knowledge and career option – for which you don’t need MRCP completed.

  9. Sanjo Varghese

    i have completed my 3 years of internal medicine and 3 years of subspecialty training in medical oncology from india.i have also completed my mrcp and mrcp sce in medical oncology. what type of jobs should i expect for my level of training?

    1. Read job descriptions and see which level of responsibilities you feel ready to work at. Not to deter you but it can prove to be difficult to start off as a registrar straight away without any NHS experience. Please read this article for more reference – How to find a Job in the NHS

      1. Sanjo Varghese

        I wish to do do medical oncology training by st3 recruitment. Will I be considered overqualified?? will I get accepted without NHS experiance into ST3??

        1. The route to enter Oncology training (which is an uncoupled) is via Internal Medicine training (core level training) first. So you either have to go through IMT first or work (as a non-trainee) to get IMT equivalence certificate before you can apply for ST3 Oncology. Please watch this video:

        2. Sanjo Varghese

          Any idea if the equivalence certificate requires certification by a UK doctor? As far as i read they have mentioned about being certified by a consultant from a physicianly specialty

        3. The signatory doesn’t have to be a UK consultant, but given the competencies in that equivalence certificate that warrants you to achieve – can be difficult to prove that you achieved that outside UK. If at a later date someone looks back at your previous competencies, things might seem impossible to prove on your part.. So it’s safer and easier to get these signed as a non-trainee doctor in the NHS.

  10. As an overseas doctor going to work in uk for first time (completed intership and 1 n hlf yr experience in home country) i wanted to apply for a nontraining that nontraining job same as FY2 or is there any nontraining job who s paymnt is equivalent to CT1 orST1 training job?or can i only start with Fy2 ?

  11. can you kindly shed some light on someone who has cleared their FCPS in Orthopedics(Pakistan), what rout should i take to get locum or FRCS in ortho

  12. hi ..thank you for your valuable info. I wanted to do family medicine specialty, so after my internship and plab I have to search for non-training posts in ct-1?or is there any other pathway? I wish to know about GP pathway.when should I take mrcgp? Are there any exams before family medicine specialty?

  13. Would you please explain my eligibility , MBBS, PLAB 1 passed but expired, done Master in internal medicine 2010 from China and from 2010 to 2019 till date teaching medicine in Medical college as lecturer and attached in Pathology lab in China, but not directly in clinical practice. Now want to take PLAB again and start specialization training in UK in Pathology or radiology. Please guide me . Plus kindly also tell me about the requirements for MRCP1 in Radiology and Pathology. Thank you

    1. Please read the relevant posts in the “postgraduation” and “training in the UK” category. You should be able to find information that is already there.

  14. Athina Trachalaki

    Concerning MRCP. There is something called EEA eligibility. A route that recognises MRCP equivalent from EU nations. Do you know how this works??

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