It is currently an excellent time to consider a career in neurology.

The specialty is extremely varied and a growth area due breakthrough advances in research and the increasing demand for neurologists both acutely (liaison neurology, acute stroke) and in the management of chronic neurological disorders.


Neurology - trainee characteristics

Neurology is a broad specialty in which trainees will work independently and within an MDT patients with acute and chronic problems.  It will suit trainees who:

  • -are good communicators and have good clinical skills
  • -are problem solvers with an interest in clinically relevant neuroscience
  • are team players but able to work with a measure of independence

Training in an ST3 neurology post

The specialty of Neurology has changed dramatically in the last few years. Advances in neuroimaging and molecular biology and the emergence of effective therapies has improved the management of many conditions including stroke, epilepsy, peripheral neuropathy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.  Ground-breaking treatments are transforming neurological outcomes, for example antisense oligonucleotides in previously untreatable conditions such as Huntington’s Disease, and mechanical thrombectomy for patients with large-vessel ischaemic stroke.

Training in neurology consists of five years, one of which - if combined with enough clinical activity - may be relevant research. Usually the training is based around regional neuroscience centres with rotation to other neurology units, including district general hospitals.  Training, education and assessment are delivered by local deaneries following a GMC-approved curriculum developed by the Specialist Advisory Committee in conjunction with all stakeholders, including the Education committee of the Association of British Neurologists, and the Association of British Neurologists Trainees committee. 

Research opportunities

There are plenty of opportunities for research, and many trainees undertake a period of research towards a higher degree as part of their neurological training (as an out-of-programme activity) to obtain an MD or PhD.

Neurology in demand

Recently there has been an increase in the number of consultant neurologists and it is likely that new posts will continue to be developed despite the current financial climate in the NHS, such is the demand for specialist neurological care.  Most district general hospitals will require several neurologists in order to deal with GP referrals, inpatient referrals, and ward care.

Furthermore, the National Stroke Strategy has increased the need for specialists, including neurologists, with an expertise in the care of patients with cerebrovascular disease, and all neurologists who train according to the new curriculum will be eligible to apply for posts which involve stroke medicine.


Medical Care

Find out more about neurology and the services delivered by the specialty on Medical Care – the RCP’s online guide to service design.


Neurology and Shape of Training

In the next two years there are very important changes happening in neurology training although it will continue to be a five-year programme. 

Trainees starting their training in August 2022 will follow a new curriculum.  They will dual accredit in Neurology and Internal Medicine, and obtain sub-specialty training in Stroke Medicine, during their five-year training programme. 

Currently (2020), entry into neurology training is possible following successful completion of a Foundation Programme followed by a Core Medical Training programme (Core Medical Training (CMT) or Acute Care Common Stem - Acute Medicine (ACCS-AM)), with full MRCP. This route of recruitment will continue to be the case in Round 1, February 2021 for posts starting in August 2021, but these trainees will have to change to the new curriculum before 2024. 

Trainees who started - or start - training before August 2021 can remain on the current curriculum (2010), and although it will not be compulsory to transfer to the new curriculum they will be encouraged to do so.  The GMC would like all trainees to be on the new curriculum by 2024, but there will clearly be exemptions from this.

In 2022, applications for specialty training will be for posts starting (August 2022) at ST4 level, for trainees who have completed three years of Internal Medicine Training (IMT1-3). From 2021 trainees who have completed Foundation and Core Medical Training will be eligible to apply for an IM3 year, starting in August 2021 (or later), and will then be eligible to apply to specialty training in 2022 (or later).


Further information

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.

Queries regarding the progress of a submitted application should be directed to the lead recruiter for this specialty.  The lead recruiter for neurology in 2021 is Thames Valley.

Health Education Thames Valley
Postal address

Health Education England – Thames Valley
Thames Valley Office
4150 Chancellor Court
Oxford Business Park South
Oxford
OX4 2GX

email address [email protected]
website https://www.hee.nhs.uk/hee-your-area/thames-valley

Eligibility

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.

Please note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, certain recruitment processes have been affected for round 2 ST3 PSRO-coordinated specialties. As a result, the below information on this page is not applicable for this round only and should not be used where the process has changed. Please refer to the applicant guide for the latest information about how round 2 will operate.

Further guidance about the scoring format of interviews will be published to each specialty page and we hope to have this updated by application closing date. Please visit the specialty pages closer to the time for updated information.

 

Interview content

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.


Interview scoring

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.

date of last review: 6 December 2019

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.

Provisional post numbers


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 & post numbers

Region NTN posts LAT posts* Evidence upload date(s)Interview date(s)
East of England 2-3 N/A

18 January - 25 January 2021

 

23 February - 24 February 2021

East Midlands 1 N/A

London and KSS

Kent, Surrey & Sussex

0

N/A

London

0-14

N/A
North East 0-2 N/A
North West

Mersey

0-3

N/A

North Western

0-1

N/A
South West

Peninsula

0-1

N/A

Severn

0-1

N/A
Thames Valley 1 N/A
Wessex 1-2 N/A
West Midlands 4-6 N/A
Yorkshire & Humber 0-5 N/A
Scotland** 2 TBC
Wales 0-1 TBC

*English LATs

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.

Interview Content

The interview will consist of four question areas which will be between 4-6 minutes each in length. You will be marked on these questions.

Including time for questioning, the interview will be approximately 20 minutes.

Please note that this is subject to change and will be confirmed by the date of interview.

Scoring Framework

The score of 1-5 an interviewer will award you for each assessment area is judged in relation to how well you perform against an expected level. Below is the framework used to award scores at interview, as well as interpretation of what these scores represent:

  

  

  

Mark

  

  

  
  

  

  

 Rating

  

  

  
  

  

  

Assessment

  

  

  

1

poor

not considered appointable

2

area for concern

performed below the level expected; possibly unappointable, subject to discussion and performance in other areas

3

satisfactory

performed at the level expected during CT2; the candidate is suitable for an ST3 / LAT post

4

good

above average ability; the candidate is suitable for an ST3 / LAT post

5

excellent

highly performing trainee; the candidate is suitable for an ST3 / LAT post

As shown in the table, for each of the question areas at interview, 3/5 is considered a satisfactory score; and reflects the level of performance that would be expected of a trainee ready to progress to a specialty training programme.

Should your performance go above and beyond this expected level, interviewers can award marks of 4/5 or 5/5 as appropriate.

Conversely, should your interview performance not reach the expected level, then interviewers can award marks of 1/5 or 2/5, as reflects their level of concern over your performance.


Appointability

From the eight scores awarded during your interview, an 'appointability' status will be calculated to determine whether you can be considered for an offer.

The intention is to ensure successful candidates can display competence consistently across all areas of assessment covered at interview, rather than allowing outstanding achievement in one or more areas to make up for sub-par performance elsewhere.

Appointability is awarded automatically and is based on two factors: individual interview scores and the 'raw interview score'.

Appointability criteria

To be classed as 'appointable', you must meet three criteria below:

  • none of your 8 interview scores can be 1/5
  • no more than two of your 8 interview scores can be 2/5
  • your RIS must be 24 or above.

If you meet all three requirements, your application will be assessed as appointable, and can progress to be considered for post offers.

However, if you fail to meet any of these requirements, your application must then be assessed as not appointable, and it will progress no further in that round.


Total Score

After interview, a weighting is applied to the scores in each area, as well as your application score.

These scores are then combined to give your total score which determines your ranking, which will in turn be used to inform how offers are made. The weighting of different sections, as well as the method by which your total score is established, is detailed in the table accessible through the link below:

    

 

  

    

 Interviewer   1

  

    

 Interviewer   2

  

    

Weighting

  

    

Max   score

  

Question 1

Presentation

/ 5

/ 5

2.5

25

Question 2

Professionalism & governance

/ 5

/ 5

2.5

25

Question 3

Application & training

/ 5

/ 5

1.2

12

Question 4

 

Suitability & Commitment

/ 5

/ 5

1.8

18

Raw interview score

/ 40

Interview score (w weighting)

/ 80

 Application score

/ 56

0.36

/ 20.16

 Total score

/ 100.16