To become an independent general practitioner in the UK, you must successfully complete GP Specialty Training (GPST).

GP Training: The basics

To become an independent general practitioner in the UK, you must successfully complete GP Specialty Training (GPST). This is usually 3 years but may include contributing time from other training or experience. GP training normally includes at least 18 months in an approved training practice with the remaining time in approved hospital or integrated training posts.

To ensure that you become a competent, effective and confident GP of tomorrow as well as directly addressing the GP curriculum, deaneries will tailor your training to your individual needs and your particular rate of progress.

There is an increasing number of 4-year options available giving extra valuable experience. On joining a GP Specialty Training Programme you should register with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

GP posts

All GP posts are undertaken in a wide variety of locations, and always in an approved training practice under the supervision of a GP trainer. Here you will receive personalised tuition from an experienced GP who has had further training as an educationalist, as well as other members of the Primary Health Care Team. 

The training will be targeted to your identified needs.

Hospital posts

The exact posts offered by deaneries in their programmes vary, but you will be offered a complete programme that complies with the regulations set down by the GMC. 

All posts are accredited and approved for GP training. The specialties available include: General Medicine, Elderly Care Medicine, Paediatrics, Community Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Psychiatry and old age Psychiatry, ENT, Accident and Emergency, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, and Palliative Care.

Integrated Training Posts (ITPs)

Posts which integrate general practice with other relevant experience can be beneficial as they offer the opportunity to design a programme which is more relevant to general practice. 

Some deaneries offer ITPs with experience in a combination of general practice and other relevant posts including outreach posts based in the community, specialty posts usually based in hospital, and integrated care. It can also include a non-specialty element such as research or leadership.

More detail on the construction of a GP training programme can be found on the RCGP website.

Assessing your skill assessments and examinations

To become a general practitioner you must possess a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT). During all your placements you will complete Workplace Based Assessments (WPBA) as well as preparing for the MRCGP examinations – the Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) and the Recorded Consultation Assessment (RCA).

Your progress will be monitored at least yearly by an Annual Review of Competency Progress (ARCP) panel.

More details of the examination can be found on the RCGP website.

Important: Assessment and Selection Process

The assessment and selection process will involve the Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA) which is a computer-based assessment delivered in physical test centres. A subsequent face-to-face or virtual assessment at a Selection Centre will not occur. Successful applicants will be considered for appointment across the whole of the UK, based on their performance in the MSRA. This method is known as Single Transferable Score (STS) as applicants are not restricted to being considered for appointment in a single specific region. The STS system is designed to maximise opportunities for successful appointment.

Personal skills assessed in the recruitment and selection process

  • Clinical knowledge and expertise: Capacity to apply sound clinical knowledge and awareness to full investigation of problems.
  • Empathy and sensitivity: Capacity and motivation to take in others’ perspectives and to treat others with understanding.
  • Communication skills: Capacity to adjust behaviour and language as appropriate to needs of differing situations.
  • Conceptual thinking and problem solving: Capacity to think beyond the obvious, with analytical and flexible mind.
  • Coping with pressure: Capacity to recognise own limitations and develop appropriate coping mechanisms.
  • Organisation and planning: Capacity to organise information/time effectively in a planned manner.
  • Managing others and team involvement: Capacity to work effectively in partnership with others.

Educational supervision

You will be assigned to an educational supervisor based in General Practice throughout your time on the programme, who will help you through the MRCGP procedures, using an e-portfolio to do so.

Other opportunities: Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACFs) and Global Health Fellowships (GHFs)

Some NHS England local offices or deaneries may also offer a limited number of Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF) and Global Health Fellowship (GHF) programmes where time is spent on additional academic projects or where some time is spent abroad working in rural communities.

These are subject to availability.

How does recruitment to GP Specialty Training work?

The General Practice National Recruitment Office (GPNRO) co-ordinates the nationally agreed and quality assured process for recruitment to General Practice (GP) Specialty Training (ST1) Programmes.

Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACF) and Global Health Fellowships (GHF) routes are also available in GP training, but these are independent from the national process and are recruited to locally by individual NHS England local offices and deaneries.

All submitted applications for GP Specialty Training will be assessed using a standard, national and consistent staged process outlined below. The competency-based selection process allows applicants to demonstrate their abilities and suitability for GP training - applications are assessed by the demonstration of competences as outlined in the General Practice ST1 Person Specification (2024).

Applicants are reminded that entry to GP Specialty Training is highly competitive. Information about competition ratios in previous rounds and the number of available vacancies in each region are available on this site.

Applicants will make a single application for all available GP ST1 training posts in participating regions.

Before you commence your online application form you should familiarise yourself with the GP assessment and selection process and the essential entry requirements.

You should also refer to the Oriel Applicant User Guide for general guidance on how to navigate Oriel and technical help with the on-line application form.

Recruitment leads and programme details

There are 14 different training programmes locations across the UK, as well as opportunities within the Defence Postgraduate Medical Deanery (DPMD).

Page last reviewed: 19 October 2023
Next review due: 1 October 2024

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