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Application process at ST1

The O&G specialty training programme

Upon successful completion of the Foundation Programme, doctors then have the option to undertake further study in a specific field of medicine to develop the further competencies and skills required to practise in their chosen discipline.

Overview

The RCOG works closely with the training deaneries and the General Medical Council (GMC) to promote medical education, develop standards and curricula and deliver specialty training in O&G.

Recruitment into O&G is coordinated by the National Obstetrics and Gynaecology Recruitment Office. The RCOG appoints a Specialty Recruitment Officer who oversees the UK recruitment process for training places in O&G, and provides expert advice to the RCOG on issues affecting the recruitment of suitably qualified individuals into O&G. The Recruitment Officer liaises with and provides advice to national and international bodies involved in recruitment, including the ongoing review/revision of the application process and the standardisation and development of the interview schedule.

You can find an overview of ST1 training and the application process on the NHS Medical Hub. Please also visit the O&G person specification for information on the requirements and eligibility for applying to the speciality training programme.

Doctors who have completed their foundation years or have equivalent training who wish to become obstetricians and gynaecologists can apply for selection onto the national specialist training programme via the Oriel website. This is the only way to submit an application form for an ST1 post in O&G.

The Oriel website also includes lots of information about recruitment, including person specifications and an FAQ document that explains the process, key dates, interview timetables, competition ratios and more. We advise you to consider all of this information thoroughly before submitting your application.

Preparation

To prepare for the specialty application and interview, your first priority is to be familiar with the person specification for specialty training. Use this as a guide to prepare for the interview, which will be mapped against the person specification. Find out more preparing for ST1 application here.

Please be aware that entry onto the O&G training programme is highly competitive. Do not be discouraged if your first attempt is unsuccessful; many trainees enter speciality training on their second attempt. If you are unsuccessful, you should use the year to develop the generic skills listed in the person specification for specialty training, and to develop your confidence and ability to present yourself optimally to the interview panel.

You can also use the year to further demonstrate your enthusiasm for and commitment to the specialty. You can do this in a variety of ways, including audits, presentations, teaching, courses, sitting the Part 1 MRCOG exam, research and submitting entries for RCOG awards/competitions. You could also undertake a locally employed doctor post in O&G or in a related specialty, e.g. general surgery, urology, adult medicine, endocrinology, paediatrics or neonatology. For further information on exposure to O&G in foundation year 3 (FY3), please see here.

Please note that sitting and/or passing the Part 1 MRCOG exam is not required for specialty application and it will not provide any direct advantage in the recruitment process. In addition, the exam has become more clinically focused, so lack of clinical experience in managing problems on the ward would be a disadvantage.

Whatever you choose to do, it is important to record your activities and reflect on how this has helped your professional development. Maintaining a portfolio could help you do this.

You also need to aware of the eligibility criteria for entry onto the specialty training in O&G. For example, in the person specification and entry criteria for Obstetrics and Gynaecology ST1 recruitment, it specifies the maximum amount of experience in the specialty (not including foundation modules) by the time of intended start date.

Find out more about the structure of specialist education and training in O&G.

Find out more about the specialty training curriculum in O&G.

International Medical Graduates

If you are an International Medical Graduate (IMG) looking to apply for the O&G specialty training programme, the first step is to confirm your eligibility to work in the UK. Visit the UK Border Agency website and the General Medical Council (GMC) website for more information.

Next, you need to consider your eligibility to enter specialty training in O&G in the UK at either ST1 or ST3. For more information, visit the NHS medical specialty recruitment website.

If you are not eligible for specialty training, you may be considered for posts outside of the training programme that can provide equivalent experience to a recognised training post. Find out more here. These are generally posts that provide a service, with variable support for training. These posts are advertised by individual NHS trusts and are usually advertised by NHS Jobs and, sometimes, BMJ Careers. The details and specific requirements for each job, as well as a contact person for further enquiries, will be provided in the job description and person specification.

There are also other career pathways available that provide the opportunity for personal development and career progression, find out more about specialty, associate specialist, and specialist (SAS) roles here.

You can find out more information about working in the UK on the RCOG’s International Medical Graduates Hub.

Changing specialty and applying for O&G

Experience in another specialty, including a change of career direction, should not disadvantage you in applying for specialty training in O&G. You should consider what additional skills and experience your previous training has provided and how these relate to O&G. Consider the generic skills listed in the person specification for specialty training and how your previous experience can help you demonstrate these skills.

You will also be expected to demonstrate your enthusiasm for and commitment to the specialty. You can do this in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Undertake relevant audit projects with transferrable knowledge and skills
  • Undertake ‘taster’ sessions in O&G
  • Make time to attend relevant clinical sessions outside your normal working requirements

You should record all of these activities in your portfolio.