It is currently an excellent time to consider a career in neurology.
The specialty is extremely varied and a growth area, given the increasing demand for neurologists both acutely (liaison neurology, acute stroke) and in the management of chronic neurological disorders.
Neurology - trainee characteristics
Neurology will particularly suit trainees who:
are innovative, and have and interest in clinical and laboratory research
have good clinical skills (that combine a good knowledge of anatomy with good listening skills)
are team players but able to work with a measure of independence
Training in an ST3 neurology post
The specialty of neurology is changing rapidly.
Traditionally, neurology had been thought of as an intellectual pursuit, concerned with the diagnosis of rare conditions of the nervous system with relatively little time devoted to the care of the patient and their family.
However, the advent of accessible non-invasive imaging, and the development of new treatments, has led to neurologists' involvement with the treatment and on-going care of patients with disorders which are in fact very common, such as stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.
Some training posts combine accreditted training in neurology and stroke without an extension of training time. These five year programmes (initially pioneered at St Georges' and the South West) are an exciting development that reflects the increasing importance of stroke within neurology.
A good clinical neurologist must have a good general medical background - and so full MRCP(UK) is an essential requirement to start at ST3 level.
There are plenty of opportunities for research, and many trainees will undertake a period of research towards a higher degree as part of their neurological training (as an out-of-programme experience) completing an MD or PhD.
Neurology in demand
There has recently been a rapid increase in the number of consultant neurologists and it is likely that new posts will continue to be developed (even in spite of the current NHS financial climate, such is the demand for specialist neurological care).
Most district general hospitals will require at least two neurologists, responsible for GP referrals and seeing inpatient referrals from other specialists.
Furthermore, the National Stroke Strategy has increased the need for specialists, including neurologists, with expertise in the care of patients with neurovascular disease.
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
From August 2022 onwards, following changes associated with the Shape of Training reforms, specialist registrars in neurology will dual train in Internal Medicine and Neurology (including Stroke Medicine), in keeping with other medical specialties such as Renal Medicine and Cardiology. A five year neurology training programme is proposed, one year’s worth of which will be more Internal Medicine, to complement the three years (2019-2022) of Stage 1 Internal Medicine (IM 1-3) which all the major medical specialties will complete.
Queries regarding the progress of a submitted application should be directed to the lead recruiter for this specialty. The lead recruiter for neurology in 2019 is Thames Valley.
|Health Education Thames Valley|
Health Education England – Thames Valley
|email address||[email protected]|
General / application queries
For general queries relating to areas such as eligibility criteria, making an application or the Oriel system, please contact the Specialty Recruitment Office via email at [email protected].
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.
National single centre model
This specialty uses the single centre recruitment model.
You will not be required to give any preferences of particular regions when completing your application; you are applying purely for the specialty at that stage.
Later on, you will be required to give preferences of the available posts – at that point, you can opt to be considered for as many (or as few) post vacancies available nationally as you wish.
Lead region and single centre interviews
The specialty will nominate a particular region to act as lead for the round; this region is shown under the 'Who do I contact?' tab above. This lead region will review all applications, liaise with all candidates, host interviews, verify assessments, and make offers on behalf of all regions nationally.
Your application will be handled solely by the lead region throughout the entire round, up to the point where you receive and accept an offer; after which it will be transferred to the region where the post is based for pre-employment checks.
All interviews will be held at this lead region although the clinicians making up the interview panel will be drawn from a national background – ie not just from the host region.
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 a clinical scenario to review. Upon arrival at the station you will be asked questions relating to this scenario.
The clinical scenario will be relatively brief (two/three sentences), so once you have read this, the remainder of the pre-station time will allow you to undertake some short preparation (just mental preparation - this does not mean making notes, etc.)
The scenario will describe a hypothetical clinical situation which has arisen in which you are, or have become, involved. Some points to consider when reviewing the scenario 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
One mark will be awarded to you based on your suggestions and responses to the clinical scenario. The second mark will be on the communication skills you display.
This will be both an assessment of how you would communicate with patients, colleagues, etc. in the scenario, as well as of how well you communicate with interviewers at the station
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). This will then be followed by a discussion on professionalism & governance.
The station will be divided into three parts - three minutes for your presentation and a further two for discussion of it (both of which will feed into the first assessment area here); followed by a five minute discussion of professionalism and governance.
Upon arrival at station 3, you will need to give a presentation on the following topic, for no more than three minutes:
'An interesting case I have been involved in/a case that has changed my practice'
When preparing your presentation, please bear in mind the points below:
- Clarity & relevance most important - Select a topic that is relevant to neurology, and which you can present with clarity. This is more important than trying to impress by choosing a subject that is esoteric or complex. It should be relevant to your application where possible.
- No aids/resources provided - There will be no projectors or laptops for PowerPoint, no OHPs, flip-charts, etc. You are welcome to use prompts on small cards, but these should be for your own use only, and should not be given out as hand-outs.
- Three minute time limit - Your presentation must last for no more than three minutes. Please note that you will be stopped after three minutes so as to allow further discussion to take place, so try and get your main points across before then. At the same time, bear in mind that interviewers will be assessing the level, depth and content of your presentation, as well as expecting some structure.
Interview nerves will also be taken into consideration.
Once your presentation is finished (interviewers will stop you at the three minute-mark), interviewers will discuss it with you and ask further questions relating to the items you raised, plus any further points.
This discussion will take place for (approximately) another two minutes.
Professionalism & governance
Following the presentation will be a discussion of professionalism and governance. This discussion will be prompted by a short question (often a single sentence) provided by interviewers. This will not be given to you before arriving at the station - this will be given verbally by interviewers once the presentation is finished.
This section of the interview is designed to assess your demonstration and understanding of professionalism and governance in a given situation.
Familiarise yourself with Good Medical Practice
Please note - assessment of professionalism & governance is underpinned by the principles of GMC Good Medical Practice.
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||/ 5||/ 5||x1.6||/ 16|
|Communication mark||/ 5||/ 5||x0.8||/ 8|
|Presentation||/ 5||/ 5||x1.6||/ 16|
|Professionalism and governance||/ 5||/ 5||x1.2||/ 12|
|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
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*||Interview date(s)|
|East of England||0-2||n/a||
Thames Valley (lead)
London and KSS
Kent, Surrey & Sussex
|Thames Valley (lead)||0||n/a|
|Yorkshire & Humber||3-4||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.