Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board recruitment to core medical training 2011

Eligibility FAQs

This page contains the most pertinent and frequently-asked questions on the subject of eligibility for ST3 posts.

Click on a question to reveal the answer.

Please note that the Oriel system also contains its own FAQs section listing common queries there - at this link:


The GMC has ruled that MRCP(UK) is one of the essential measures of CMT competence. As such, before you can take up an ST3 post, you must have gained the full MRCP(UK) qualification in order to be eligible for the post.

While it is only necessary to have gained the full MRCP(UK) qualification by the 'requirement deadline' (see our timeline page ), when you submit your application you must demonstrate you are eligible for ST3; and that will include proving you will be able to gain the full MRCP(UK) qualification before the 'requirement deadline'.

It is a requirement of MRCP(UK) that candidates must sit and pass the Part 1 examination, before either of the other two examinations (Part 2 & PACES) can be attempted.

It is not possible for a candidate to sit and pass all three parts of the MRCP(UK) qualification in the time between application and the requirement deadline.

And so, if you have not gained Part 1 by the time you come to apply, this demonstrates that you will not be able to gain the full diploma in time for post start date; and thus your application must be marked as ineligible for this round.

At the time at which you submit your application, it is only necessary for you to have passed MRCP(UK) Part 1 to be considered eligible at that stage. This will allow your application to progress further.

Your application can progress through the stages of long- and short-listing, interview, and even to the point of offers; but to take up a post you will need to obtain the full MRCP(UK) diploma, including all three parts: Part 1, Part 2 and PACES.

If at the time of application you do not have Part 2 or PACES, you will need to demonstrate that you have applied or are awaiting the results of these examinations at the time of interview.

Offers can be made subject to you passing the missing parts of the examination, but you will not be able to take up an ST3 post until you prove that you have gained the entire qualification. This must be by 5 August 2015 in round 1 and 31 December 2015 in round 2. The timings of the release of examination results must enable you to pass missing examinations in time; due to this it is not possible to apply without MRCP(UK) Part 2 Written in round 2 in 2015 and pass this by the deadline, so you should wait until a future round if this applies to you.

Please note - alternative examinations or training can be accepted instead of the MRCP(UK), please see the MRCP(UK) page of this website for more information.

Yes; candidates who have gained the necessary core competences can apply to ST3 and progress through the recruitment process; it is only necessary to have gained the MRCP(UK) diploma by time of appointment.

Your ARCP can be used as evidence of achievement of competences, and should be attached to your form where possible. You can then separately demonstrate completion of the MRCP(UK).

If you do not gain an ST3 post as a result of not passing the full MRCP(UK) diploma, you will not be able to take up your offer, and you should contact the relevant deanery/LETB as soon as possible to confirm.

Aside from this there are a number of options available to consider:

Part 2/PACES re-sit

The first option to consider would be re-sitting the examination for the relevant part(s) of the diploma. Application, examination and results dates can be found on the MRCP(UK) website.

LAS recruitment

One further option that may be open in some cases is that of recruitment to LAS (Locum Appointment for Service) posts.

Some regions may wish to recruit to LAS posts to meet service requirements while recruitment to ST3 posts is going on; and unlike NTN and LAT posts, LAS posts do not require trainees to meet the full eligibility requirements as set out in the relevant person specification .

Regions will decide on a local, individual basis whether they wish to recruit candidates to LAS posts, and if so they will set their own requirements for the post and their own methods of recruiting candidates.

For more information, please contact the region(s) at which you are interested in working directly for this - contact details can be found on the regional contacts page of this website.

UK CMT/ACCS applicants

As well as an 'entry requirement' for ST3 post, for candidates undertaking UK CMT or ACCS-AM programmes, gaining the full MRCP(UK) diploma is an 'exit requirement' - ie they cannot formally complete the CMT/ACCS programme until they have gained the full diploma.

As such, candidates who will not pass the full MRCP(UK) diploma prior to the completion of their CMT/ACCS programme should contact their current deanery/LETB or programme director to ask for further advice; in some circumstances, you may be eligible to apply for additional training time.

Some specialties ( audiovestibular medicine, clinical genetics, clinical neurophysiologydermatology, haematology, palliative medicine, rehabilitation medicine, sport and exercise medicine) accept candidates from alternative training routes (ie not from CMT/ACCS).

Applicants must have, as a minimum, the initial part(s) of the exam related to their training (eg MRCPCH Parts 1 A & B), and must be in a position to pass the full qualifying exam prior to taking up ST3 training.

Please review the relevant specialties page and person specification for more information.

In March 2012, the conference of postgraduate medical deaneries ( COPMeD ) produced guidance on what can be considered equivalent to the MRCP(UK) in terms of recruitment; this is given below:

'The only examinations that should be treated as equivalent to MRCP(UK) for ST3 recruitment purposes are:

The Hong Kong and Singapore colleges require full MRCP(UK).

No evidence is available to enable recruiters to consider any other examinations to be equivalent, and MRCP(UK) is an international examination that is open to all.

There are additional exceptions under EEA regulations regarding the directive 2005/36/EC that may apply to EEA nationals who have trained in a non-UK EEA country.'

EEA nationals should refer to the MRCP(UK) eligibility page for further details about whether their training can be considered as having met the MRCP(UK) criterion for the purposes of recruitment.

Not in terms of eligibility - if you have a qualification or training deemed as an acceptable alternative to MRCP(UK), this is sufficient for you to progress through the recruitment process. You will score equal points for this to having completed the MRCP(UK).

MRCP(UK) is the only examination recognised by GMC for CMT training accreditation, ie as an exit exam. Thus candidates possessing equivalent qualifications to MRCP(UK) will see their training result in a CESR(CP), not a CCT.

Again, candidates applying with 'alternative' qualifications, explicitly stated as being suitable within the person specification (MRCS, MRCPsych, etc.) may be in line for a CCT depending on their pre-ST3 experience.

Please see the person specification for specialty(ies) to which you are considering applying.

Competences - foundation and CMT

Within recruitment to participating ST3 specialties, if you can supply evidence of achievement and demonstration of CT/ST-level competences, it will be taken as read you have achieved and possess foundation-level competences.

That is; you do not need to provide evidence of foundation-level competences when applying to ST3 here.

Between the content of your application form and the documentation you take to interview, you will be required to provide evidence of your achievement of core competences.

The format of this evidence will vary depending on the training you have had to date.

If you are applying while in the second year of a two-year CMT/ACCS programme, you will be required to show a satisfactory ARCP at CT1-level; plus evidence you are on track to gain a satisfactory ARCP at CT2-level.

If you have previously undertaken and completed CMT/ACCS (including if you took SHO-equivalent training prior to CT2 training), you will be required to show documentation of a satisfactory ARCP outcome at CT2-level.

If your training to date was in a JRCPTB-approved SHO training programme, prior to the inception of PMETB approval in August 2007, you will be required to submit proof of satisfactory General Professional Training (GPT). This can be in the form of a satisfactory RITA or Educational/Clinical Supervisor's report.

If you do not fall into any of these categories, or you are unable to provide the documentation stated, you will need to submit an Alternative Certificate of Core Competence (see below FAQ).

The competences (eligibility) section of the website contains more detailed information about this area.

The Alternative Certificate of Core Competence allows candidates who did not train in a UK core medical training or ACCS acute medicine programme to demonstrate their achievement of core medical competences.

The document is essentially a list of CMT-level competences, as defined in the CMT curriculum.

For use in ST3 recruitment this must be completed by a physician who has supervised you for a period of three months or more, and who can attest to your achievement of CMT-level competences. All competences therein must be completed for the certificate to be valid.

The certificate should not be used for candidates who are currently on, or who have completed, CMT.

You can download the certificate from the competences (eligibility) section of the website, where more detailed information about this can also be found.

Please note that from 2016, a new version of the form will be introduced and previous versions will no longer be accepted.

If you are using the alternative certificate to demonstrate your achievement of core competences (see above and the competences page of this website for more information), you should submit this with your application form.

To do this, you must upload the document to your Oriel account before submitting your form. More information about this can be found on the competences page.

Where possible, it is requested that refugee doctors provide documentation.

If your refugee status prevents you from accessing standard documentation and/or contacting recent supervisors, and thus prevents you from obtaining alternative certification of achievement of core competency, please contact your local postgraduate deanery/LETB for advice before submitting your application.

Deaneries/LETBs should be able to provide assistance in order to obtain documentation demonstrating achievement of core competency.

UK eligibility

Unfortunately, we are not able to give advice or specific guidance to candidates with regard to individual queries relating to immigration/visa status.

Immigration issues are particularly complex, hence it is appropriate that personnel with training in this area are those that you should contact to discuss this.

While we are keen to provide as much assistance and information to applicants as is possible, equally or more important is ensuring we do not provide people with inaccurate or misleading information.

Any information relating to immigration/visa issues contained within this website, our applicants' guide or provided by our helpdesk has been provided to us by Health Education England and the Home Office.

As such, we would recommend that any candidates with queries relating to their visa or immigration status, and if/how this will affect their eligibility for ST3, should contact those bodies for further information.

Some applicants may be considered before others on the basis of immigration status in accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006.

If you are not a UK or EEA national, but your immigration status entitles you to work without restriction in the UK, you will be considered on an equal basis with UK and EEA nationals.

Candidates whose applications are subject to the resident labour market test, may apply for ST3 posts and will be considered on an equal basis up until the point of offer.

Post offers cannot be made until the pool of candidates who are not subject to such restrictions have been exhausted. Where national clearing is used this will not be until then, and only once there are no candidates without restrictions remaining.

English language skills

If you undertook undergraduate medical training in English, you are not required to provide further evidence of your English skills. If you did not, then you will need to supply further evidence of your English skills to support your application.

The most common method by which candidates can do this is via the IELTS - International English Language Testing System.

The minimum IELTS requirement is for a candidate to achieve a score of 7.5 overall, and a minimum of 7 for each component (speaking, listening, reading and writing); also this must have been within 24 months of your application (ie within the two years prior to submitting your application).

Applicants who did not undertake English undergraduate training and who do not possess valid IELTS qualification will need to provide other supporting evidence of their English skills.

This could be having worked in the UK NHS for two years or more, or being able to provide testimony from a supervisor as to your English skills. The language skills section of the website has more information about alternative sources of evidence.

Please note that communication will also be assessed at the interview stage.

Please also be aware that passing PLAB I or II is NOT considered a satisfactory alternative to IELTS.

GMC registration

You do not need to be registered with and licensed by the GMC at the point where you come to submit your application.

However if you are not registered at that time, it will be necessary for you to state that you will be eligible for GMC registration and licensing by the advertised start date of posts.

On the ST3 application form, where you are prompted to select whether or not you have GMC registration. If you do not, you will be given the opportunity to explain your particular circumstances in a free-text box within that section.

We would advise checking the GMC website for further information on eligibility for registration/licensing:

Previously relinquishing a post in the specialty

In short, no. In general, you would only be considered to have relinquished, been released or removed from a post if you had formally taken up and begun an ST3 post - ie started working in the post - and then departed from it at a later date.

If you applied to ST3 previously, and then:

  • withdrew your application
  • progressed through the recruitment process before declining a post offer
  • accepted a post offer, then withdrew prior to starting the post

You would not be considered as having relinquished/been removed from/released from a post in the manner described inthe person specification.

In this case you would not need to declare you had been released from the programme and would not need to submit a form supporting your application from your core training region.

When applying you will upload your ARCP outcome document which should show that your outcome 4 is only due to not having completed the MRCP(UK) during your core programme. This will demonstrate that you were only released for this reason.

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