Junior doctor Applying for training

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Applying for a specialty training post

Junior doctor at computer

Whether you are applying to a specialty in secondary care, to general practice or to an academic post, make sure you have all the information you need when moving to the next stage of your medical training. 

Since 2015, the specialty application process changed with the introduction of Oriel, an online portal for everyone applying for medical and dental training across the UK. This single portal allows you to register, view vacancies, apply, book interviews and assessment centres and receive offers, all in the same place.

NHS Health Careers offers a step by step guide through each stage of the specialty recruitment process, also providing resources to guide you through decision making, preparing your CV, organising your portfolio, tips on presenting your evidence and much more.

Go to the specialty training website to find out everything you need to know about recruitment deadlines, Oriel and more.

See our top tips for your specialty application

Get help with making an informed decision about your specialty with Specialty explorer.


Applying to general practice

If you are applying to general practice, The General Practice National Recruitment Office (GPNRO) coordinates recruitment to general practice for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Applications will go through the Oriel system as with other specialties.  as they, and the process for applying, is different from other specialty applications.

If you are an academic GP, training differs in each UK country. For more information see the GPNRO website on academic posts.

The BMA is working with Health Education England, NHS England and the Royal College of General Practitioners to encourage more young doctors to become GPs.

View relevant dates for applying to general practice


Applying to academic posts

If you are applying for academic posts, The General Practice National Recruitment Office (GPNRO) coordinates this for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Check their guidance for further information regarding Academic Fellowships.

Read our guide to applying for academic posts

Essential information

  • Applicant handbook and important dates

    Download the Medical Specialty Recruitment Applicant Handbook 2020

    For important dates please see Recruitment timelines.

    Note that dates may be subject to change, so always check your intended programme.

  • Confidential transfer of information

    Guidance for GP trainees 

    What is the purpose of the form?

    An increasing number of trainees are being identified as having had specific performance issues in earlier training (foundation or other specialty programmes) that would have benefited from early awareness and an agreed process of intervention.

    The 'confidential transfer of information' form is only shared with the relevant Training Programme Director (TPD) and Educational Supervisor once the trainee has been appointed to a deanery and a programme.

    The information gathered from the form can be used to ensure that the trainee is allocated suitable tracks and posts. For example, a trainee with specific educational needs may be allocated an experienced (rather than recently appointed) GP Educational Supervisor or a GP Educational Supervisor known to have specific skills appropriate to the identified needs for the duration of their training programme.

    The information provided on the form will eventually be verified following the transfer of files between Responsible Officers. As this process can take some time, the form allows educational choices to be made at the early stages of a training programme.

    The forms are available from your LETB or deanery, so check the relevant website.

    Find your local LETB or deanery to get further information


    Will the information submitted on the form influence decisions to offer training posts?

    No. The form will be distributed to trainees after an offer has been made and acceptance received.

    The form will be used only to ensure that the trainee's post allocation is suitable and educationally beneficial.


    Who will see the form?

    The form is to be shared with the trainee's appointed GP Education Supervisor at their first meeting. In some deaneries, the GP Training Programme Director has been included in this process.

    The information will remain confidential between these individuals and the trainee.

  • Individual coaching for specialty applications in Northern Ireland

    Let the BMA help you

    If you are considering applying for a specialty doctor post, BMA (NI) offer individual sessions to assist you, BMA members, to feel better prepared and therefore more confident to constructively engage in your interview process.

    While the content of each session is dependent on your individual needs, the overall objectives are to:

    • provide advice and guidance with regards to interview preparation
    • seek to ensure that you understand the relevant recruitment processes
    • build understanding and confidence about the interview itself
    • provide opportunity to experience mock interviews.


    A free service

    Each individual session can last up to one hour and how many sessions you need is dependent on your level of interview readiness and your personal requirements, this service is free to members irrespective of the number of session you attend.

    Sessions take place at BMA Northern Ireland, 16 Cromac Place, Cromac Wood, Ormeau Road, Belfast, BT7 2JB.

    Please note that the coaching service provided is free to BMA members who are living and working in Northern Ireland at the time of application.


    Get involved

    If you are interested please contact Heather Cassell in BMA Northern Ireland office.


  • Further learning

    Try the BMJ Learning e-learning module Application to specialty training or watch the webinar

  • Considering a year out of training?

    More and more FY2s are taking a year out of training before continuing to specialty training.

    Find out how we can support you