Where do I fit into the NHS with FRCR (Oncology)?
As there is no hard and fast rule for what position you will have after gaining a UK qualification, it is important for IMGs to understand the posts that are available to you after completing FRCR (Oncology).
FRCR (Oncology) is a highly beneficial qualification to achieve, but it does not guarantee you a consultant position in the NHS.
This can be a confusing area for overseas clinical and radiation oncologists, but this blog aims to de-mystify the subject. This article will explain the following topics:
Skip ahead to the relevant section if you know what you’re looking for.
FRCR (Oncology) within the UK Oncology Training Programme
Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists (Oncology) or FRCR (Oncology) is the postgraduate qualification awarded by the Royal College of Radiologists, the body responsible for the specialties of clinical oncology and clinical radiology throughout the UK.
FRCR (Oncology) is a three-part exam which is a necessary part of the training programme of clinical oncologists in the UK.
For trainees who have chosen to pursue clinical oncology, FRCR (Oncology) Part 1 or CO1 must be passed by the end of ST4.
Clinical oncology trainees will then sit Final FRCR (Oncology), also known as Part 2A and 2B or CO2A and CO2B, usually from ST6 to ST7.
These final exams are important in that they assess a trainee’s knowledge and skills related to the investigation of malignant disease and the care and management of patients with cancer.
Any UK-trained clinical oncologist applying for a CCT in order to work as a substantive consultant must have completed full FRCR (Oncology).
As shown above, UK trainees will also have completed MRCP (UK), although this is not required for overseas clinical oncologists.
Positions for Doctors new to the NHS with FRCR (Oncology)
As an IMG with full FRCR (Oncology), you will be eligible for consultant grade positions in the UK.
You are not guaranteed a consultant position, particularly if you do not have previous consultant position in your home country, but you will certainly be able to attain more senior positions in the NHS, such as a specialty doctor (SAS) or specialist grade.
Consultant positions are the most senior in the UK, and thus the highest paid position for doctors within the NHS pay system.
For further information on how NHS pay scales work for consultants, please see our detailed article here.
Of course, this is assuming that you have also completed the other necessary components to make you eligible for GMC registration.
Alongside your postgraduate qualification, you will need to have passed an English Language Test (either IELTS or OET).
Additionally, you must obtain a Certificate of Good Standing, and submit this to the GMC. Upon the receipt of these three components, you will receive full GMC registration.
Permanent Consultant Posts with FRCR (Oncology)
To take up a permanent consultant position in the NHS, you would need to have Specialist Registration. Specialist Registration (more specifically CESR for most overseas doctors) allows you to take up permanent or substantive consultant roles in the NHS.
The type of consultant position you would be eligible for with FRCR (Oncology) is a locum consultant post.
Firstly, we should clarify the meaning of the term ‘locum consultant’ in the UK. The NHS has two types of locums - Trust locums and Agency locums.
If you are an IMG with full registration, but you are not on the Specialist Register, you are only able to take on consultant positions as a trust locum, but no permanent positions.
Trust locums are hired on a fixed-term contract and are able to better acclimatize themselves to the NHS system, whilst receiving the support and guidance to work towards consultant positions and CESR.
Please note, you can only work as an agency locum if you have a British passport.
CESR Opportunities in the NHS
CESR or the Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration is a route of entry to the Specialist Register for those doctors who have not followed a GMC-approved training programme.
You can read more about CESR in Clinical Oncology through our IMG Resources library here.
IMG Connect are able to help you to secure senior roles such as specialty doctor (SAS), specialist grade or locum consultant in Trusts that offer CESR support.
In these roles, you will have better pay and responsibilities that are more appropriate to your level of experience compared to a trainee. These Trusts have a lot of experience in supporting overseas doctors to progress their careers through CESR.
You can collect evidence of your competences, particularly those specific to the UK Clinical Oncology curriculum and those you may not be able to achieve outside the UK.
These positions also facilitate a faster route to the UK than applying directly through the CESR route, which can take a substantial amount of time.
Get in touch with us to find out more about senior positions in the NHS with CESR support.
We hope this blog has been helpful in clarifying your questions about securing senior posts in the NHS with FRCR (Oncology). If you have any further questions regarding the postgraduate exams, CESR or Oncology in the NHS - feel free to contact us directly.
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