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.

Research opportunities

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.


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

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.


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 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 neurology in 2020 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.

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.

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 2 Interview dates & post numbers

Region NTN posts LAT posts* Interview date(s)
HE East Midlands 0 n/a

Wednesday 14 October 2020

HE East of England 0 n/a

London and KSS

London

0

KSS

0

 n/a
 n/a
HE North East 0-1 n/a
HE North West

Mersey

0

n/a

North Western

0

n/a
HE South West

Peninsula

1

n/a

Severn

0

n/a
HE Thames Valley 0-1 n/a
HE Wessex 0-1 n/a
HE West Midlands 2 n/a
HE Yorkshire & Humber 0-3 n/a
Scotland** 1 TBC
Wales 0 TBC

Interview Content

The interview will consist of four question areas which will be between 3-5 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

/ 68

0.3

/ 20.4

 Total score

/ 100.4