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Once I hold full MRCP or MRCS I can skip core training, right?

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What if my internship experience is rejected by the GMC

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Updated: October 28, 2020

Answer: Unfortunately, no.

This appears to be quite a common misconception. Many IMGs are under the impression that they can “skip” core training in medicine or surgery and apply directly to higher specialty training at ST3 level if they pass one of the Royal College membership exams. Unfortunately, this is not completely true.

To be eligible to apply for any ST3 post you need to fulfill the eligibility criteria. Exams are only one of those criteria. The other main criteria are:

  1. Clinical experience
    • Evidenced by completion of the relevant UK core training programme OR
    • Evidenced by time spent in clinical practice (in the UK or overseas) and/or a portfolio
  2. Alternative certificate of competence
 

The specifics of these criteria can be found in the relevant person specifications. I’ve provided an example for a medical specialty and a surgical specialty below.

ST3 Cardiology entry criteria

Qualifications

  • MBSS or equivalent medical qualification
  • MRCP (Membership of the Royal College of Physicians)

Eligibility

  • Full GMC registration
  • Achievement of Foundation competences or equivalent. This includes 24 months clinical experience (12 months internship and 12 months post-internship).
  • Completion of a UK approved Core Medical Training programme OR Alternative certificate of core competence

Career progression

  • 24 months’ experience in medical specialties (including at least 12 months in the care of acute medical in-patients)
    • Foundation level experience (first 24 months clinical experience) cannot be counted here. Therefore you should have a total of 48 months clinical experience equivalent to FY1, FY2, CT1 & CT2.

ST3 General surgery entry criteria

Qualifications

  • MBSS or equivalent medical qualification
  • MRCS (Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons)

Eligibility

  • Full GMC registration
  • Achievement of Foundation competences or equivalent. This includes 24 months clinical experience (12 months internship and 12 months post-internship).
  • Completion of UK approved Core Surgical Training programme OR Certificate of Readiness to Enter Higher Surgical Training

Career progression

  • Completion of the relevant competencies in General Surgery as described in the Core Surgical Training curriculum. This can be demonstrated through a log book or portfolio.
  • There is no stated minimum number of months of experience however you need to complete all the competences which will usually take 24 months (equivalent of core surgical training). It may be achieved in less time.

So although you may have passed the exam, if you don’t have the right experience or documentation, it won’t be possible to completely skip UK core training.

Follow up questions

If I have done the equivalent training overseas, can I have the certificate signed by my Consultant overseas?

Yes.

If I have done the equivalent training overseas, I have the certificate, and I have the relevant logbook/portfolio, can I apply directly to ST3?

Technically yes, however it is not advisable to start work in the UK in a training role at this senior level without prior work experience in the NHS or a similar health care system. Expectations at this stage are high and you are being closely monitored. Poor performance can lead to failure to progress in training or removal from the training programme.

It is generally best to apply for a non-training job first to gain NHS experience then apply for ST3+. 

Further reading

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44 Responses

  1. Hi, I graduated from an European medical school with a MD (thesis was part of my undergrad.) As part of the person specification for ST4 recruitment, can I claim points for my MD under the postgraduate qualifications for a masters level degree?
    Thanks

    1. Hi there, unfortunately no. The criteria states that “To score yourself for an MD it should meet the UK definition of an MD: A supervised research degree for students already registered with the General Medical Council, is studied full time over 2 years or 4 years part time awarded a doctorate if your thesis is judged to represent an original contribution to knowledge in your chosen area.” So essentially it needs to be a research degree that takes 2-4 years to complete AFTER your medical degree. If it’s part of your medical degree, then it’s not considered an additional degree. I have the same qualification like you, the MD is the PMQ, not an additional degree.

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Hi, we’re Drs Nick & Kimberly Tan, the two IMGs behind The Savvy IMG. We write comprehensive guides, create courses, and provide one-to-one guidance to help other overseas qualified doctors on their journey to the UK.
We have scoured the official guidance to put these posts together, but we can make mistakes! If you spot anything that is incorrect, please get in touch and we’ll put it right.
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