Oriel is the UK-wide portal and recruitment system for postgraduate training vacancies. You use Oriel to submit your application.

All applications must be made electronically using the Oriel recruitment portal by the specified deadline.


You can register your details on Oriel before the application window opens.

To register, go to Oriel and click on Account Registration. You will not be able to access the online application form until the application window opens.

You will be asked to provide:

  • your name – this must be entered exactly as it appears on the General Medical Council (GMC) register
  • a valid email address - ensure you register with a secure and individual email address which you check regularly
  • password – at least 8 characters in length and contains at least one upper case letter and one numeric value

Once the system has validated these details you will be taken to the selection page where you can choose the specialty you are applying for and the relevant recruitment round and year. You will not see details of specific posts until preferencing has opened.

Submitting an application

You will only need to make a one application to the ST4 General Psychiatry pathway. This includes if you wish to apply to a specific speciality or one of the dual speciality programmes. You will only need to attend one interview.

You will then be able to choose across all six single specialities and all seven dual specialities during perferencing.

The application form will only ask for factual information about you and your employment history. Once you've submitted your application, you are unable to make any changes, apart from to update your own contact and referee details so please ensure that you do not submit unless it is complete. 

All sections of the application form must be completed fully according to written guidelines. 

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. 

Important: Important

Oriel is only supported by these browsers:

  • Chrome v77+
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  • Firefox v68+
  • Safari v12+

Communications about your application

Communication about your application will be through direct messaging in Oriel. Oriel will also send an email, but we cannot guarantee delivery, so you should not rely this method of communication.

Important: Emails from Oriel

Oriel will notify you about deadlines, interviews (if applicable) and offers using your registered email address. Make sure the below email address are on your safe senders list and check the junk or spam folders of your email account regularly.

You should not rely solely on email alerts during the recruitment process. Check the messages section in your Oriel account regularly to make sure you do not miss any important alerts about your application.

Special circumstances

A standardised national process is available for all specialty recruitment to ensure that applicants with special circumstances and a requirement to train in a specific region are treated in a fair and consistent way.

If you fall into one of the following eligibility criteria you can apply to have your circumstances taken into consideration allowing you to be pre-allocated into a post.

  • Criterion 1 – you are the primary carer for someone who is disabled, as defined by the Equality Act 2010
  • Criterion 2 – you have a medical condition or disability for which ongoing follow up for the condition in the specified location is an absolute requirement.

If you wish to be considered for special circumstances you should complete the special circumstances application form and forward this, together with supporting evidence, as a single scanned document to [email protected].


Find out more about applying for special circumstances.

Fitness to practise

If you make a Fitness to Practise declaration on your application form, you must complete a form and send it to [email protected]. This must be provided no later than the closing date for applications (see recruitment timeline).

If you answer Yes to one or more of the Fitness to Practise questions, this does not necessarily mean your application cannot progress.


Find out more about declaring Fitness to Practise.

Equality and diversity

We are committed to ensuring our selection procedures are fair and that, in line with the Equality Act 2010, no-one is disadvantaged on grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.

All applicants are assessed against the nationally agreed ST4 Psychiatry person specifications.

Less than full-time training

If you have a valid reason why you are unable to work full-time you can select the less than full time (LTFT) training option at the time of applying. This information will be treated in strict confidence and will not be shared with clinicians involved in interviewing. 

You will need to refer to the relevant NHS England regional information on policies, procedures and how to apply LTFT training. 


You can find the details of the HEE area/regional contact details on the Medical Specialty Recruitment pages.

Disabled applicants

You will need to state whether you have a disability that will require special arrangements to be made for interview. All applicants who meet the minimum requirements of the person specification will be invited to attend the interview.

Support for reapplication to Specialty Training

Support for reapplication to the same Specialty Training programme

If you have previously left, been released or removed from a UK Higher Psychiatry Training programme, or the associated Core Psychiatry programme, your application can only be considered if it is accompanied by one of the following.

  • A letter of support from the postgraduate dean, or designated deputy, of the NHS England area or region in which you worked.
  • The Exclusion Policy Support form.

You will need to attach this information to your Oriel application before you submit. You are advised to start the process early if you require this support. 

Support for reapplication to the same Specialty Training in a different region

If you currently work in a ST4 Psychiatry training programme, and wish to apply to continue your training in another region without a break in service, you will need the support of your current Head of School or Programme Director in order to reapply.

You must ask your Head of School or Programme Director in your current NHS England area or region to complete a Support for Reapplication of Specialty Training in a Different Region form.

Your application will not be considered without a fully completed and signed form, which must be submitted at the time of application.

Choosing your Psychiatry post

Preferencing is the process of ranking specific posts or sectors within a region/area.

In this round of recruitment, you will be able to preference all available ST4 Psychiatry posts in England, Scotland and Wales, across the 6 single specialties and 7 dual specialties where are available posts. Some of the dual combinations may have zero posts, especially the smaller combinations.

Post details may be subject to change over the recruitment period. Additionally, some NHS England areas/regions may not be able to provide details of specific posts or sectors. It is worth considering that, for a particular specialty in an area no posts may be shown initially, but this can change throughout the process.

Offers are made on the basis of your overall ranking and your preference of available posts. It is therefore a very important step in the process, and you should carefully consider which posts you would be willing to take up. You may need to contact a specific region if you have any queries about the local training opportunities.

Preferencing will be completed via the Oriel recruitment system. We anticipate that you will be able to preference available options in October 2023. We will provide the full details to all applicants of how the preferences stage of the process will work in this recruitment round, and give guidance on how to select your preferences prior to the preferencing window opening.

You are advised to only rank posts that they realistically would be willing to accept.


Offers will be released by NHS England (North West) on behalf of all areas and regions via Oriel. The decision whether to make you an offer of training will be based on your interview outcome and overall score/ranking.


Find out how your final scores are calculated.

If your interview score meets or exceeds the national threshold you will be deemed appointable. However, being deemed appointable does not guarantee you a post.

If you are deemed eligible for appointment but your overall score places you below the number of vacancies available, you could still receive an offer if initial offers are rejected by higher scoring candidates.

You will be ranked according to your overall score and offers will depend on your ranking coupled with your preferencing of available posts in each local area/region. The higher your overall score, the more likely you are to be offered a training post. Your score is based on your total performance at interview, your CASC score and your verified self-assessment score. Your rank determines where you are placed compared to other applicants in the process.

Any offer and allocation of a training programme you receive is not an offer of employment. An employment contract detailing the terms and conditions of employment will be issued by the employing organisation where you will be based and is made subject to satisfactory pre-employment checks. Your offer of employment will include the name of your employer, the start date and length of the period of employment, the location, the hours, the minimum rate of remuneration and the notice period applicable.Information regarding standard pay, hours, sick pay and annual leave entitlements, notice period and study leave are set out in the national terms and conditions available from the NHS Employers website.

Responding to an offer

You will be given 48 hours (exclusive of weekends and bank holidays) to respond to an offer. You will have 3 options on how to respond.

  • Accept (or accept with upgrades)
  • Hold (or hold with upgrades)
  • Reject

If you fail to respond to an offer within the 48 hour window, you will be deemed to have declined the offer.

Once you have accepted a post, you will not receive any further offers from any other specialty.

Offers that are declined will be recycled and offered in rank order to other applicants.

The examples below are not, of course, exhaustive – there are other possible combinations of events.


You are ranked first overall and therefore will be offered your first preference.

Example 2

You are ranked 21st overall and have preferenced Post A as your first choice, with Post B as your second choice. Post A has already been accepted by someone who ranks above you - therefore you will be offered Post B. You can accept this post, or you can accept with upgrades - guaranteeing you Post B but also meaning you could be upgraded should Post A become available.

Example 3

You ranked 150th overall, and have only preferenced Post C and Post D. These posts have been accepted by applicants that rank above you, so you will not receive any offers.

Offers will be recycled until either all posts are filled, or all candidates have been exhausted.

All offers will be received through Oriel and must be accepted, held or rejected in the Oriel system.

When the offers process has been completed, the information will be passed on to the staff in the various geographical offices around the UK. They will then be in touch with you if you have accepted the post and will finalise details and carry out pre-employment checks.

Holding offers

If you choose to hold an offer, you can do this until the deadline specified on the recruitment timelines page. Before this deadline, you are required to go back into Oriel and make a final decision on the offer. Any offers still held when the deadline is reached will be deemed to have been declined and the system will automatically change your status to show that you have declined your post.

If you are holding an offer and try to hold another, the original held post will be automatically declined by the system.

After the hold deadline has passed, any offers made will only have the option to accept or decline.

Offers exchanges and enhanced preferences

All appointable candidates will have the option to amend their preferences should they wish to.

If you do not receive an offer in the initial matching process this may help you achieve an offer in the subsequent matching processes.

When an offer is accepted with upgrades, or held with upgrades, you will also have the opportunity to amend your preferences. This will allow you to remove preferences that you originally ranked above your current offer and alter the order of your preferenced programmes.

Pre-employment checks

When all posts have been allocated, your new employer will contact you to complete pre-employment checks. These checks are designed to ensure that every doctor working in the NHS is fit and safe to work with patients. Checks will include:

  • verification of references
  • fitness to practise updates from the General Medical Council (GMC)
  • occupational health clearance
  • criminal record checks
  • immigration status checks

Once pre-employment checks have been completed successfully, the employer will confirm new starter details with you. You should receive your contract within 2 months of starting in post, as per NHS Employers’ guidance. In the meantime, if you do have any queries regarding the post you have accepted, we recommend that you contact the area/region where you will be working for further details.

Deferring your start date

You can make an application for deferred entry as per guidance in the Gold Guide. Deferral can only be considered on statutory grounds such as maternity leave or ill health. No other reason will be considered.


You must provide the contact details for 3 references on your application form. Ideally they will be consultants who have supervised the your work or your current or most recent supervisor.

Once offers have been accepted, the referees will be invited to submit a reference using the Oriel system. Instructions will be sent to the email address provided on the application form.

The Oriel system will send automatic, regular reminders to referees asking them to complete the reference form online. You must take responsibility to ensure that all references have been submitted. You can monitor their references by selecting the References tab on the Oriel dashboard.

All offers made will be on the condition of the NHS England area/region receiving three satisfactory references. Obtaining references is your responsibility. The NHS England area/region will not chase your referees.

Related information

Page last reviewed: 11 July 2023
Next review due: 11 July 2024