Specialist register / CESR - what are my options in the NHS?
November 25, 2019
CESR acts as a route to applying for substantive (permanent) consultant jobs for doctors who have not followed a specialty training programme in the United Kingdom.
In a nutshell it is the option available to doctors practicing as consultants from overseas who wish to gain specialist registration in the UK. Some doctors choose to apply from overseas, others work with IMG Connect to secure a job in the NHS geared at helping them gain entry to the specialist register once in the UK.
If you are working as a consultant in your home country and are eligible for specialist registration in the UK, then as an overseas doctor (IMG) you have a couple of options. Here we focus on applying for CESR from abroad as well as the alternative route, applying for a Specialty Doctor or Fixed Term Consultant job in the UK before applying for CESR with support of your NHS employer.
Both routes lead to gaining CESR and entry to the Specialist Registration, meaning that you can work as a substantive consultant in the NHS. Both take hard work, preparation, evidence gathering, time and dedication. Both options have the same end goal, specialist registration.
It is important to say that no matter how you choose to apply, the CESR process involves submitting a large volume of evidence to demonstrate that you have the equivalent experience, skills and competencies as a doctor who has taken the specialty training route in the UK. Whether applying from overseas or not, some doctors are asked to complete additional experiences to meet this strict standard. Because of this, the process can be lengthy.
Applying for CESR from overseas
This is a great option for Consultants who are not constrained by time and have an understanding department that will support the additional gathering of evidence.
The GMC reckons that it takes between 6 – 9 months between submitting your application and receiving a decision. At IMG Connect our experience tells us that is takes a similar amount of time to gather the evidence prior to submitting. In addition, you must have completed the evidence in the first place in real workplace and clinical scenarios. This can take twice as much time as preparing and submitting. Put simply, the process can be time consuming and laborious.
Add to this the issue of completing and gathering evidence against the CESR application from overseas. It can prove challenging to ensure that you have completed the full complement of competencies for CESR applications. This can result in the GMC asking for further evidence, adding more time to the process. You may have to identify gaps in your learning and then resolve them. It is not all bad though, this is good practice and will benefit you in the long run.
Applying for a specialty doctor job and/or fixed term consultant post before applying for CESR
For doctors who are keen to secure entry to the Specialist register quickly, and work in the UK as soon as possible, then taking up a Specialty Doctor role with CESR programme, or a Fixed Term Consultant post with CESR programme/support is a good option.
Many NHS hospitals or trusts in the UK will offer access to support, clinical experience and study or preparation time for CESR. This is often built into the weekly job plan, but in some circumstances, this may be arranged informally. Either way, this is a good way for overseas consultants to quickly gather the right evidence for their application with the support of their peers, senior colleagues and NHS employer. This can shorten the time spent on the application overall.
If this sounds like the best option for you, it is wise to start gathering and signing off evidence in your current consultant post. That way you will already have some or most of the required evidence for CESR in place, allowing you to quickly focus on any elements that are missing once in the UK and working in the NHS.
Securing a job as a Specialty Doctor with CESR programme attached, or a job as a Fixed Term Consultant with CESR programme/support attached, gives you instant exposure to the UK system, NHS experience and a great start to your career in the NHS.
To discuss whether applying for CESR from overseas or securing a job as a Specialty Doctor or Fixed term consultant with CESR programme is the right route for you towards specialist registration, speak with an IMG Connect consultant, register or send your CV.