Obstetrics and Gynaecology (OBGYN) is a branch of medical sciences which is a mix of both medical and surgical care. Training in OBGYN in the UK is highly sought after and competitive.

Obstetrics and gynecology (obgyn) is a run-through training program in the UK where there is no separation between core and specialty training. It’s 7 years long, and you need to pass MRCOG part 1 between ST2 and ST3 years and MRCOG part 2 and 3 between ST5 and ST6.

Please go through Specialty (or GP) training in the UK for more information regarding how the training is structured.

The following subspecialties can also be pursued during or after training:

  • Gynaecological oncology
  • Maternal and fetal medicine
  • Reproductive medicine
  • Urogynaecology

Let’s look at some statistics

The statistics above are for the Round 1 fill up rate for the CT1/ST1 specialties. We can clearly see a few important points:

  • The number of available posts is VERY LOW compared to posts in general practice or internal medicine training, even compared to core surgical training.
  • The ~89% of the posts that got accepted can appear misleading. In 2019, it left ONLY 25 (227-202) POSTS for re-advert rounds in which non-UK non-EEA doctors without any settled visa (the majority of us) can apply.

The structure of OBGYN Training

As mentioned earlier, OBGYN is a run-through specialty training in the UK, so the core and specialty training modules are not separate. The following discussion about the training structure assumes that you already have obtained GMC registration and working in the NHS in a non-training job.

  1. Foundation training
  2. Run-through training

Foundation training

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

  • Obtain the equivalent of foundation training outside the UK
  • Obtain the equivalent of foundation training inside the UK
  • Getting into the foundation training by UKFPO.

You can get the certificate of readiness to enter specialty 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.

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 competencies signed off.

More information regarding Internship and UKFPO 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 the UK/EEA.

Run-through Training

Getting into ST1 OBGYN Training

Before applying, you should ensure that you meet the relevant eligibility requirements.

  • Foundation competencies i.e. CREST signed, which has already been discussed above.
  • Having 24 months’ or less experience in Obstetrics and Gynecology (not including Foundation modules) by the time of the intended start date.

Then when the application rounds open, the application is made via the ORIEL system and longlisting happens. Unlike Internal medicine training, for the recruitment of ST1 OBGYN, you need to go through an exam – Multi-specialty Recruitment Assessment before you are called for an interview.

Read more about ST1 OBGYN training application here.

Getting into ST3 OBGYN Training

Even if the OBGYN training is a run through training, there is provision for getting into ST3 level as well. The vacancies are LESS as compared to ST1 vacancies, so the competition is steep as well.

Your foundation and core ST1/ST2 competencies need to be signed. You also need to have completed MRCOG part 1 at the time of application. You can not have more than 60 months of OBGYN experience. This training post is a direct road towards consultancy.

Read more about ST3 OBGYN training application here.

Sub-specialty Training

This is further training, which can be pursued as an out-of-program or even after having the completion of training.

Subspecialty training programs are advertised in the BMJ. If you wish to register for subspecialty training, you’ll need to apply directly to the Deaneries/Trusts as set out in the adverts. The following are available:

  • Gynaecological oncology
  • Maternal and fetal medicine
  • Reproductive medicine
  • Urogynaecology

What an IMG (non-UK, non-EEA, without a settled visa) can do to join the OBGYN training in the UK?

I assume that you know that the first target is always to get GMC registration. After getting GMC registration, the initial approach should be to acclimatize yourself with the NHS by way of doing non-training jobs.

Gaining competencies and enriching portfolio in a Non-training job

Competencies are a set of knowledge, skills and abilities, and other requirements that are expected from someone to perform a job. All the training levels have their specific list of competencies to achieve in the end. There are ways to gain those competencies even without being in a formal training program. You would have to take control of your own training.

1. Evidence of Foundation Competence

One of the primary things that needs completing is the ‘Certificate of Readiness to Enter Specialty Training‘ or the CREST form. This form has been updated and modified, so please make sure that you are using the 2020 version of the CREST form otherwise it WILL NOT be accepted.

The following individuals can sign your competency form:

  • Consultants
  • GPs
  • Clinical Directors
  • Medical Superintendents
  • Academic Professors
  • Locum Consultants with CCT/CESR

The person who signs it must have worked with you for a consecutive 3 months within the last 3.5 years from the start date of the post in question. They do not have to personally witness your completing all of the professional capabilities listed; if there is sufficient alternative evidence at hand that you have demonstrated these capabilities, they can sign you off. Please note that clinical attachments/unpaid rotations WILL NOT count towards the 3 month requirement.

If the individual signing your competencies is registered overseas, it is your responsibility to provide the necessary evidence proving their registration. You must attach proof of their registration along with your CREST form and translate any part of the document as needed. If they have had GMC registration but no longer hold it, it will not be considered.

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2. Evidence of Core Competence

You can continue working at the non-training SHO level and find your way to maintain an RCOG e-portfolio and eventually get your ST1/ST2 Competencies signed by your supervising consultant. This involves clear communication with your supervising consultant(s) and making them aware of your intentions of getting the competencies signed.

3. Passing MRCOG exams and boosting your portfolio

Getting your membership exam done as soon as possible is something you should know already. Other than that, there are many things that influence your specialty training application. As the interviews are very competitive, and that’s why emphasis needs to be given on your portfolio.

  • Postgraduate degrees and qualifications and additional degrees
  • CPD courses
  • Additional Achievements
  • Quality Improvement (clinical audit)
  • Teaching experience
  • Training in teaching
  • Presentations
  • Publications
  • Leadership and management
  • Commitment to surgery
  • Clinical/procedural experience in both surgical and non-surgical posts
  • Organization of your portfolio

Also please have a look at the Person specifications for training to see what exactly they are looking for.

Frequently asked questions

With a completed MRCOG you can get GMC registration as a medical practitioner and work as a doctor in the UK. But to be a specialist/consultant, you need to go through some sort of training in the UK (CESR-CP) or prove to GMC that your training back home was equivalent to GMC-approved training (CESR).

Certainly, you can. MTI post will grant you GMC registration and it will help you further your career both home and in the UK. Read more about Medical Training Initiative (MTI).

In the end, I don’t want to inflate anyone’s expectations nor do I want to sound pessimistic. The OBGYN training in the UK is not impossible if you work towards it.

Good Luck!

41 thoughts on “Specialty Training in OBGYN (O&G) in the UK”

  1. To get fy2 core competencies signed one needs to work for atleast 3 months in a non training job , how long to work to get core training or st1 n st2 training competencies signed in a non training job?

    1. There is no minimum time mentioned in those certificates. But given how those trainings are 2 or 3 years and are more specialty specific it is not believable that you got all the competencies in three months. So, you have to work as much time as your consultant thinks you will need.

  2. RituPriyadarshni

    My friend has about 2 years of experience in surgical specialties other than obgyn in her home country. Will she be eligible to apply for obgyn training ?

  3. My friend has more than 24 months of experience in general surgery. She is interested in obgyn. Is she eligible to apply for st1 position in UK after Plab exams ?

  4. Hi ,
    I have training in obg for 5 yrs and did MRCOG part2 2 yrs back, but I am out of practice for almost 5 yrs now … what route should I take after PLAB. ST1 —am I still eligible for it or I must go for st3 route
    Thank you

  5. it is stated above that one must not have more than 60 months of OBGYN experience to get into ST3. I have more than 60months as I have completed OBGYN fellowship in my country, Nigeria. what will you advise that I do? I must also add that I have UK spousal visa

  6. Heloo I’ve finished medical school which was 5 years in my country and i am starting internship soon, if i want to join the non training obs and gynea specialist what will i do?
    Someone tell me

  7. I have some free time now, so is it a bad idea if I try for plab and mrcog part 1? If God willing they both work out, which level can i try for Ct1 or ST1?

    1. There is no difference in CT1 or ST1. The specialties like O&G which doesn’t have a separate core level training, do not have a level called CT1, the training directly starts from ST1.

  8. Abhinanda Pal

    Hello, could you please let me know the scoring criteria of the application? I could only find the scoring criteria for surgery training but was unable to find the same for Obs & Gynae.

    1. MRCOG part 1 will not get you GMC registration. You either have to complete the entire MRCOG or complete PLAB in order to start working as a doctor in the UK.

  9. Abhinanda Pal

    Hello. If after my internship from my home country, I do a standalone FY2 training or maybe a non-training FY2 equivalent job in the NHS, on a tier-2 working visa, will I not be eligible to apply in the first round for the Obgyn ST1 training in the next year itself like other EEU graduates?
    Asking because I don’t really understand what a settled visa status is. I would be needing a tier 2 visa to work.

    1. In the current system which has changed in October 2019, anyone can apply for round 1. No visa restrictions whatsoever.

  10. i want to do subspeciality training in reproductive gynaecology ihave done FCPS IN OBSTETRICS & GYNAECOLOGY from pakistan.how should i proceed please guide me .i shall be thankful to you.

    1. In order to take sub-specialty training you have to complete MRCOG all parts and be on the O&G UK training or have obtained specialist registration already via other methods. So basically you have two routes:
      1. Proving to GMC that your FCPS training is equal to that of UK O&G training and apply for CESR to become a specialist (which is difficult to prove).
      2. Finish parts of MRCOG and get into UK training after getting GMC registration as a medical practitioner (NOT as a specialist).

  11. I have 4 years of postgraduate training in obs n gynae back home , if I clear plab and mrcog part1 ,at what level I stand? But to be honest my training back home was very deficient and I don’t think so I’ll be able to work independently or take decisions on my own if I work in UK.so what’s the best thing to do in this regard?

    1. I couldn’t find any such concrete information regarding that. Please look at the recruitment sites.

  12. hauwa ibrahim jaafaru

    Initially, i thought after writing MRCOG and Oet/ielts I can apply for GMC registration with that and get a training at any hospital,then apply for part 2 but its turn out not possible.Please I would like to know if there is any way you can registered with GMC apart from plab.Because,I heard after plab you will work as a SHO,which I don’t want to beacause I already have 5 years working experience.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Even with years of work experience, working as an SHO in the very beginning for 4-6 months of your NHS career will be good for you. You will understand the health care structure much better will less burden on your shoulder, to begin with. After MRCOG and IELTS/OET – you can get registered as a medical practitioner, but to get into training without any NHS experience may prove to be very difficult that too in a competitive specialty like OB/GYN.
      Even with NHS experience and MRCOG completed, your visa may not allow you to get into training as the number of posts is really less, they always get filled up by the UK/EEA national.

  13. I did 3 years of training in Obs Gynae back home. I m doing my Plab exams right now. So what I understand is that for me being foreign graduate and Canadian citizen, the only option is to first get a non training job in UK after GMC registeration? Plz confirm if there is any other option? I have done MRCOG 1, 2 years back but my training experience is 6 years back..

    1. Yes. Getting into a non-training job is always the best option as that makes you acclimatize with the NHS.

  14. hauwa ibrahim jaafaru

    Please do i need to pass all the 3 parts of MRCOG before i can register with GMC?
    Thank you.

      1. hauwa ibrahim jaafaru

        But with MTI you can only be registered with GMC for 2 years and work in uk for the maximum of 2 years.So, i am little bit confused.It means the only way you can get into the system is by writing plab right?

        1. With MTI, GMC registration does not expire after MTI finishes. Your visa will expire, and you will need to find a trust-grade or a training job to keep working after MTI.

        2. hauwa ibrahim jaafaru

          Thank you very much for your reply.I have indefinite stay in uk(spouse visa) so, i don’t need to apply for any working visa.Regarding MTI, do I also need to sit for the three part of MRCOG before I can get GMC registration?

        3. If you already have a spouse visa you won’t get into MTI. Medical Training Initiative is for overseas doctor and initially, DFID listed country doctors will be given priority.

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