Gastroenterology is a fast-moving and hugely varied specialty.
Using both medical therapies and endoscopy, gastroenterologists investigate and manage illnesses involving multiple different organs, affecting patients of all ages and ranging from the acute life-threatening to chronic lifelong conditions.
Gastroenterology - trainee characteristics
Trainees should consider a career in gastroenterology if they:
would like a specialty with a varied working week
- enjoy a mix of life-threatening illness and chronic disease management
enjoy practical skills
are hard-working and motivated
would like a career in a rapidly evolving field with potential to sub-specialise
would like to work in a multi-disciplinary team
Working/training in an ST3 gastroenterology post
Gastroenterology is an exciting and challenging practical medical specialty, dealing with conditions affecting the entire GI tract as well as liver and pancreas, and including the investigation and management of malignant, acute life-threatening and chronic conditions for which there is an array of effective medical and endoscopic interventions.
Division of practice & sub-specialties
Currently, consultants are commonly divided by their main practice into hepatologists, luminal gastroenterologists and academics; but the specialty is developing rapidly, and it is now possible to sub-specialise in advanced endoscopy and nutrition.
All trainees learn endoscopy and most consultants continue to perform procedures, ranging from straightforward diagnostic to complex therapeutic work.
Gastroenterology also offers the opportunity to care for patients ranging from adolescence to old age and to develop lasting relationships with patients with chronic conditions.
Potential for out-of-programme-experience
Many trainees choose to develop additional skills whilst training, often done with a period of time out of programme – something encouraged by the specialty.
Commonly these include a period of research, advanced hepatology/IBD/endoscopy/nutrition training or teaching or management experience.
With gastroenterology present in all acute hospitals, being a net income generator for NHS trusts, and already one of the largest medical specialties, there are good job prospects at the end of training.
With the advent of the national bowel cancer screening programme, the planned introduction of flexible sigmoidoscopy screening, and the increasing burden of liver disease, there are several drivers to generate consultant jobs in the specialty, an important consideration when evaluating a specialty.
With sessional elements to the job it is also suited to less-than-full-time work.
Securing an ST3 post in gastroenterology
Aspiring gastroenterologists need to demonstrate excellence in their career to date.
Demonstration of commitment to the specialty is advantageous. Clinical exposure to the specialty and some experience of related practical procedures is desirable.
Higher training - What to expect
Training in gastroenterology is usually combined with training in general (internal) medicine leading to dual accreditation which remains essential for the majority of consultant posts.
Training takes a minimum of five years to complete (or pro rata if training less than full-time). All trainees rotate through secondary and tertiary centres and at some point should participate in a specialist out of hours ‘bleeder’ rota.
Furthermore, there are likely to be opportunities during the programme to spend at least one year of training in acquiring advanced clinical skills such as in hepatology, endoscopy and nutrition.
Find out more about gastroenterology and the services delivered by the specialty on Medical Care – the RCP’s online guide to service design.
General / application queries
For general queries relating to areas such as eligibility criteria, making an application or the Oriel system, please contact the Physician Specialty Recruitment Office via email at [email protected].
Queries regarding the progress of a submitted application should be directed to the lead recruiter for this specialty. The lead recruiter for gastroenterology in 2020 is Scotland.
If you have queries specifically regarding your interview or feedback, please contact the region at which the interview is being held.
|Postal address||NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
102 West Port
|email address 1 (ST3/general enquiries)|
This specialty uses the standard ST3 eligibility criteria, and does not accept candidates from any alternative training routes.
Please visit the am I eligible? section of this website for further information.
Single transferable score model
This specialty uses the single transferable score model which is a variation of the single centre model. You will apply for all posts nationally, however if invited to interview you will be given the option of a number of different venues at which you can book your interview, as opposed to all interviews being held at the same centre.
Regardless of which venue you select for your interview to be held, you can still be considered for all posts available in the specialty nationally.
This specialty will still employ an overall lead region seen in the 'Who do I contact?' tab above, which is responsible for managing all aspects of the recruitment process (from application admin to inviting to interview to making offers) on behalf of all regions nationally.
Flexible portfolio training
This specialty will be participating in the ‘flexible portfolio training’ scheme, in the North West region. This protects one day a week (or 20% time equivalent across the year) for the trainee to work within clinical informatics that will aid their professional development. This is an opportunity to acquire and develop key skills and engage in meaningful project work, in a different environment, alongside time in training that will be the springboard to a consultant career.
Further details about the scheme, and the regions where this is available can be found by visiting the website https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/flexible-portfolio-training or by emailing [email protected]
It is possible that there could be changes between now and the interview period. Please bear this in mind when reviewing the information below, although in most cases it is not expected this will change, or any changes will be minimal. You are advised to check back in closer to the time of interview. The date at the foot of this page shows when the page was last reviewed.
You will spend approximately 10 minutes at each of the three interview stations, with three-to-five minutes' transfer time between each. Thus the overall time for the interview will be approximately 40-45 minutes.
Click on the relevant stations below for more information on the content of the interview.
Please note that this is subject to change, and will be confirmed by the date of interview.
This is where your application form and training to date will be reviewed. This will include checking the documentation you have brought along to ensure all content on your application form is correct.
Normally your evidence folder will have been reviewed by the interviewers immediately prior to your arrival in the station. They will be:
• Checking that your achievements in your evidence folder match that claimed on your application form.
• Considering your career progression to date.
• Identifying areas about which they may wish to question you during the interview.
Areas for assessment
The two main aspects of discussion here, on which you will be assessed, will be your suitability for and commitment to ST3 training in the specialty, and your achievements and engagement with training and learning to date.
Scoring at the station
It is important to recognise that the scores awarded to you at this station will not purely be about your achievements, as this already contributes towards the scoring via your application form. Interviewers will be deciding upon scores via a combination of factors, for example: your responses to the questions asked, the breadth and quality of your achievements and your career progression.
Prior to arriving at station 2, you will be given two clinical scenarios to review; one on the subject of luminal gastroenterology, the other on a hepatobiliary case.
Upon arrival at the station, you will be asked questions relating to these scenarios.
The scenarios will describe hypothetical clinical situations which have arisen in which you are, or have become, involved. Some points to consider when reviewing the scenarios and preparing for discussion are:
what steps you would take
any potential treatments possible
any further information you would gather
how you would go about communicating with any people (eg patients, family members, colleagues) involved in the scenario.
You should take into account any other factors you deem appropriate, using your experience and professional judgement.
Areas for assessment
As with other stations, you will receive two assessments here (four marks - two from each interviewer) - one for your response to the luminal gastroenterology scenario, and the other for your response to the hepatobiliary scenario.
At this station, you will be asked to give a presentation, which you are expected to prepare in advance on a given subject (see below). The station will be divided into two parts - five minutes for your presentation, followed by five minutes for discussion of it.
Areas for assessment
The first area for which you will receive a score at station 3 will be your presentation and its accompanying discussion; essentially, this mark will reflect your understanding of the subject matter, as displayed via your presentation and the accompanying dicussion.
While assessing your presentation and discussion, interviewers here will also assess your communication skills.
Appointable - automatic
If you are awarded a score of at least 3/5, for all marks given to you at your interview, then you will automatically be classed as appointable.
If your 12 interview scores contain one or two marks of 2/5 (and the rest 3/5 or above), and you receive a total raw interview score of 36 or above, then you will automatically be classed as appointable.
Not appointable - automatic
If any of the 12 scores awarded to you at interview are 1/5, this will reflect poor performance and an area of major concern.
If three or more of your 12 interview scores are of 2/5, this will reflect several areas of concern across your whole interview.
Should your interview assessment falls under either category above, the level of concern over your potential progression to ST3 will see your application classed automatically as not appointable .
Total score calculation
After interview, a weighting is applied to the scores in each area, as well as the application form score, to give a 'total score'. This score determines your ranking which is used to inform how offers are made. The weighting of different sections, as well as the method by which your total score is established, can be seen by clicking on 'Total score calculation' below.
Please note that this is subject to change, and will be confirmed by the date of interview.
|Int. 1||Int. 2||Weighting||Max score|
|Evidence||/ 5||/ 5||x1.6||/ 16|
|Suitability for specialty||/ 5||/ 5||x1.2||/ 12|
|Clinical scenario (Lu)||/ 5||/ 5||x1.6||/ 16|
|Clinical scenario (HPB)||/ 5||/ 5||x1.2||/ 12|
|Presentation||/ 5||/ 5||x1.6||/ 16|
|Communication mark||/ 5||/ 5||x0.8||/ 8|
|Raw interview score||/ 60|
|Interview score (including weighting)||/ 80|
|Short-listing (app form)||/ 80||x0.25||/ 20|
|Overall assessment score||/ 100|
As part of the process of applying to ST3, you may wish to gain an idea of how recruitment progressed in previous years for the various specialties participating in the nationally-coordinated recruitment.
To this end, we have published data dating back to 2013 (where this is available), based around four main areas:
Competition ratios - application numbers submitted to each specialty, along with the number of NTN and LAT posts available in each. It is worth noting that posts are subject to change throughout the round (increasing on average between 20-40%), and post numbers for this data are taken at the end of the round.
Shortlist scores - the scores awarded to all submitted applications, including average scores and distribution nationally.
Total scores - the total score awarded to all candidates who completed the full recruitment process for a specialty (application and interview), including some analysis of scores.
Post fill rates - the number of posts filled by region.
We have published information for all specialties participating in our process that year; consequently not all specialties will have data in all cases.
|Year||Apps.|| NTN |
| LAT |
| Total |
* the percentage of unique candidates that only applied to this specialty (out of the 24 PSRO-coordinated specialties)
|Year||Apps.||NTN posts||LAT posts||Total posts||Comp.|
Provisional post numbers
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all ST3 2020 R1 interviews not yet conducted have been postponed. The dates below may not be accurate and will be updated. Please refer to our news item for further information.
Specialty vacancy numbers are available in the table below, broken down by region and divided between substantive national training number (NTN) and locum appointment for training (LAT) posts.
It is the intention that initial post numbers for all regions will be published prior to the application opening date, although this cannot be guaranteed. Numbers will be updated as and when notifications are received from each region and will be checked later in the round when programme preferences are open for selection.
Numbers subject to change
Please be aware that it is not uncommon for vacancy numbers to change throughout the round.
More commonly, post vacancy numbers can increase as the round goes on (and confirmation of posts becomes available); but it is also possible that numbers can reduce as well. On average post numbers rise between 20-40% from the start to the finish of the round but this can vary greatly for individual specialty/region combinations.
It is possible that regions which do not have a post at the start of the round may declare one after applications have closed. Whilst we try and minimise instances of this, it is not always possible to predict vacancies so even if there appears not to be a vacancy in your preferred specialty/region combination, you may wish to consider applying in case one becomes available during the round; you can check with the region concerned if you wish to check on the likelihood of a post arising.
Generally, once a region enter a post into a round they would always have at least one post available and would only withdraw it in exceptional circumstances.
Round 1 Interview dates & posts
|Region||NTN posts||LAT posts*||Interview date(s)|
|East of England||2||N/A|
London and KSS
Kent, Surrey & Sussex
|Yorkshire & Humber †||0-5||N/A|
Please note, English regions do not recruit to LAT posts.
**Scotland post numbers
If you are interested in working in Scotland, a breakdown of post numbers by the four Scottish deaneries is available on the Scottish Medical Training website. This has details of all specialty training post numbers in Scotland, including specialties which are not part of the nationally-coordinated process.
Please note that whilst we endeavour to keep the Physician ST3 recruitment website up to date, the SMT website will always be the more accurate one where they differ.
† Regions taking part in flexible portfolio training
Trainees will be able to preference posts with or without the 'flexible portfolio training' option where available. For further information on the scheme, and the distribution of regions to each pathway, please visit https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/flexible-portfolio-training