Training Availability in the UK

This post may give you an idea of your chances of entering your preferred field of specialty in the UK.


Training in the UK

In order to understand these competition ratios, you might want to go through my post Training in the UK to understand the training system in the UK.


Competition Ratio

Competition ratio is a ratio of application numbers submitted in each specialty, along with the number of seats available in each.

Competition ratio = Number of applications submitted/number of seats available.


Round 1 vs Round 2

It is also important to know that there are two rounds of recruitment for most specialties. Round 1 is only for UK/EEA nationals. Round 2 is for Non-UK/EEA nationals.


  1. Non-UK/EEA nationals can apply in Round 1 for GP training.
  2. Non-UK/EEA nationals can apply in Round 1 for Psychiatry training.
  3. Non-UK/EEA nationals can apply in Round 1 for ST3 if they are currently in training. This means that Core Medical Trainees can apply for ST3 level training posts in Round 1.


Competition Ratios Are Only Available for Round 1

The competition ratios mentioned in this post are only for Round 1 and not for Round 2.


Seats Available for Round 2

Since only a limited number of candidates apply for Round 2, the data is scattered and difficult to accumulate. I was not able to find competition ratios for Round 2. However, I have accumulated as much data as I could for seat availability for Round 2.


Numbers May Vary

It is worth noting that these numbers may vary because of the following factors:

1. All statistics mentioned in this article are only for “first preference”. While applying for any training job, we are allowed to have multiple preferences, based on different geographical locations in the UK. A lot of candidates who do not find a training spot at their preferred location, do find a training spot at a location which was their second or third preference.

2. A lot of candidates apply for training spots in multiple specialties.

3. Not every candidate who applies for training is selected. Because a lot of candidates apply for training without proper experience, just to become familiar with the application process.

4. Not every candidate who is selected for training actually takes that post.

5. The number of applications and the number of available seats increases on average by 20-40% every year.

Because of the above factors, the competition ratios might not be as high as they seem to be. For example, 2516 applicants applied for Core Medical Training (CMT) round 1 in 2016 and the number of seats available were only 1640. However, there were still 422 seats available for CMT in round 2 in 2017. This goes to show that out of 2516 candidates who applied for CMT, only 1218 candidates started working as Core Medical Trainees. This left 422 CMT seats vacant, which were opened in round 2.

This post concerns competition ratios for 2016 (round 1) and Seat Availability (round 2) for 2016 and 2017. All of which are the latest available statistics.


Competition Ratios for Round 1

Competition Ratios for ST1 Specialties in Round 1 for 2016


More ST1 Specialties

The complete file documenting competition ratios for all the ST1 specialties for 2016 can be found here.


Competition Ratios for ST3 Medical Specialties in Round 1 for 2016




Competition Ratios for ST3 Surgical Specialties in Round 1 for 2016




Competition Ratios for ST3 Other Specialties in Round 1 for 2016



More ST3 Specialties

The complete file documenting competition ratios for all the ST3 specialties for 2016 can be found here.

Source for Competition Ratios for 2016

All of the above stats were taken from the official Specialty Training website.


Seat Availability for Round 2

Seats Available for CMT in Round 2 for 2017


Official CT1 Recruitment website.


Seats Available for CST in Round 2 for 2017


Vacancy search from the official Oriel website.


Seats Available for ST3 Medical Specialties in Round 2 for 2016



More ST3 Specialties

You can visit the official ST3 recruitment website to check the number of seats available for your preferred field in both Round 1 and Round 2. Go to the bottom of the page and click on your choice of sub-specialty. A new page will open. Click on Data.



This post may give you a rough, but not a completely precise, idea of your chances of entering your preferred field.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. I can’t find my preferred field of specialty in this post. What should I do?
If your preferred field is not listed in my post, it’s because I could not find any data related to it. It’s best to go to Google and search for it yourself or to ask other people. If you find any information that is not in this blog, kindly share it with me, so I could add it to my blog and help others.


2. What are non-training jobs?

These are the jobs that IMGs with an acceptable pattern of internship should apply for. There can be many different titles to these jobs, but the jobs are nearly the same. These can include:

Foundation Year 2 (FY2)
Senior House Officer (SHO)
Core Training 1 (CT1)
Core Training 2 (CT2)
Specialty Training 1 (ST1)
Specialty Training (ST2)
Clinical Fellow (CF)
Junior Clinical Fellow (JCF)
Senior Clinical Fellow (SCF)
Junior Doctor
Trust Grade Doctor

It might confuse you seeing FY, CT and ST posts among non-training jobs. These jobs arise when a hospital needs FY, CT or ST Doctors, but it is not possible for them to recruit training doctors. So they hire non-training doctors for the same posts.

Working at these jobs will not count towards your training experience. However, the job description and the salary is the same as training jobs.


3. What is the difference between a training and a non-training job?

A training job is one in which there is career progression. In a non-training job, there is no career progression. Our internship (also known as House Job in Pakistan) and specialty training jobs (also knows as Residency in Pakistan) are training jobs.


4. What is F2 Competency?

Since IMGs do not go through UK’s Foundation training, they are required to get an F2 Competency form signed by their consultant. This form can be signed by any consultant, in the UK or in their home country, under whom they have worked for at least 3 months, during the last 3 years.

This form would not make them equivalent to candidates who have completed their Foundation training from the UK, but it would make them eligible to apply for Core Training program in the second round (First round is for British and EU citizens).


5. What is an Acceptable Pattern of Internship?

At least 12 months of internship with at least 3 months in medicine and at least 3 months in surgery is considered to be an acceptable pattern of internship. Medical and surgical sub-specialties count in medicine and surgery, respectively. For example, pediatrics and OBGYN are counted as medicine and surgery, respectively.

You must also check the official link from the GMC’s website to find out the acceptable patterns of internship. You can click here to check the official GMC link.


6. Can I enter sub-specialty of my choice in Medicine?

You can visit the official ST3 recruitment website to check the number of openings for your preferred field. Go to the bottom of the page and click on your choice of sub-specialty. A new page will open. Click on Data. Check the number of openings for that field in round 2. This will give you an idea of your chances of making it to your choice of field.

You can also check competition ratios and seat availability from my post Training Availability in the UK.

Generally, entering non-surgical fields is very easy. Finding training in surgical fields require a lot of hard work and dedication in improving the CV. There is also tough competition over training spots in specialties like dermatology and radiology.


7. How do IMGs enter the training system in the UK?

You can check my post Entry into Training for IMGs to get a detailed answer.


8. How can I enter Cardiology training at ST3 level if Cardiology does not have any seats in Round 2?

If you are in any training programe in the UK (for example, Core Medical Training), you can apply for training slots in Round 1.

89 thoughts on “Training Availability in the UK

  1. I love your posts Mr Khan. I wish you can help me plan a career in the UK,

    1. You have my blog to guide you. Kindly go through all the relevant posts. If you have any questions after reading my posts, you can always post them on the relevant articles. 🙂

  2. This is great Nasser. Could you tell me how competitive it is for a doctor from egypt to get CMT post. As in approximately what percent of people get CMT through round 2? ty

  3. First of all thank you for all your efforts.
    Is there way for non-UK/EEA nationals to apply for Cardiology or Ophthalmology ?
    Something like non-training jobs that would qualify me to apply for one of these specialties ?

    And regarding specialties that are available for Round 2, is there any thing to do increase my chances for getting the post ?

    1. IMGs who are currently in any training (for example CMTs) are eligible to apply for Cardiology ST3 Round 1.

      Researches, audits, presentations and the experience will help for any job in the UK. But non-UK/EEA Nationals are not eligible to apply for Round 1.

  4. Exactly what I was looking for! Thank you!
    -I can’t find information regarding the availability of run through programs and how the one can apply to them,
    – what are the options incase the desired speciality doesn’t end up in round two?
    -does FY2 really require 7.5 in all ielts bands as I read in their official website?

      1. FY2 increases the chances of getting core medical training I suppose?

  5. What about nuclear medicine?
    And could an IMG go for a medical teaching career? Thanks

  6. I am so glad that I found your blog ! 🙂 Thank you for all your efforts.
    Seeing the number of places available for CST round 2 made me feel sad since I would like to become a surgeon ;(

    I’ve heard that the CT1 round 2 is nationally based and not regionally based like round 1? What’s the possibility of us getting an offer in London or nearby (for both CST and CMT)?

    Thank you ! 🙂

  7. what are some of the reasons for failure to get training posts. i was there in the uk for my electives and they told me fy1 and fy2 gets you training. according to your knowledge and experience how important is foundation training

    1. There can be many reasons. Check Dr. Omar Alam’s blog to know more about finding training slots.

      It’s better but difficult to begin your UK career with Foundation training. So most people go for SHO posts.

  8. If I want to make a career on CCM then which will be best for me after completing PLAB 2

  9. so the UK nowadays is possible because they are giving people training jobs (i mean whats equivalent to FY2 jobs) and so we can build up our CV’s and so we have more chances for the core medical training? and that was not possible before the UK doctors shortage back in the days?

      1. and so lets say 2 years ago it was not possible or it was hard to get a non training job which made the UK back in the days hard to specialize it right? im admiring your patience with all these questions ! 🙂

      2. The U.K. has been short of doctors for at least 4 to 5 years now. But, yes, before that it was very difficult for doctors to find any sort of employment in the U.K.

        And it’s okay. I’m here to help and guide if I can. 🙂

  10. I am very much interested in neurology. Do you recommend that i stay back and do fcps or should i go for plab?

    1. I’m not sure about neurology. These numbers that I’ve shared is all the information that I have. You can post on Facebook and ask other people’s opinion. 🙂

  11. Hello sir ..thank you very much for all the plab help ,it has helped me a lot ..I have completed my 2 years of radiology training in India and I am planning to give plab and frcr part 1 in June can u please guide me if I can get into a radiology St2/3 training post in the uk directly.

    1. I’ve heard it’s possible to enter anesthesia. But it’s best to ask people who are training in anesthesia. You can post this question on Facebook. 🙂

  12. Hi what are my chances of getting into core surgical training in uk?
    Are they better than my chances in us?
    I want to get into general surgery
    What are my prospects of getting a training job in this field.
    If you could help me in this regard or direct me to a person who could help me it would be really awesome

  13. Are these numbers per annum? For example do they open 422 slots for round 2 cmt annually or every a few months?

  14. Hello
    Thank you for this very informative blog.I want to specialize in surgery and have a lot of questions about getting a GMC license but don’t really find the answers(at least not explained in an easy way):

    1)After i’ve done PLAB 1,can i do F1 just to get accustomed to work in the UK,and then do PLAB2?
    2)I didn’t understand what comes after PLAB2,what the difference between Core training and F2 is,and if I should apply for them if I want to get into surgery.

    1. 1. You can not work in the UK as a doctor (not even at FY1) until you pass your PLAB 2 and get GMC registration. Kindly read this:

      2. Kindly read this to understand the training system in the UK:

      3. Kindly join this group on Facebook, IMGs aiming for Surgical Training in the UK:

      4. Kindly read this guideline for getting specialty training in surgery:

  15. For me who tried USMLE, Letter of Recommendation was a pain in the ass seriously. Do I need LORs for matching in UK too?

    1. No, you do not need any LORs in the UK. The UK has more jobs and fewer doctors. So everyone finds a non-training job in the UK.

      For training job? Again, you don’t need LORs. But research, audits, presentations, teaching experience, etc helps. And it also heavily depends on which specialty you want to pursue. Medicine, A&E, GP training, psychiatry, paediatrics are very easy to find. Surgery, OBGYN, cardiology, dermatology and radiology are difficult, but not impossible to find.

      All of my friends who applied for medicine training this year have been hired. So that may give you an idea of how easy it is to find training in some specialties.

  16. Thanks a lot very informative i wanted to ask about neurosurgery its very difficult in usa to get a residency in neurosurgery what are the chances for a non UK non EU to get a training program in neurosurgery in UK and do we need some experience for it in UK

    1. It is difficult to get into any surgical field in the UK. Those who do enter, are not willing to guide others. So it’s very difficult to say anything about our chances of making it into surgery.

  17. Good morning.thank you Khan for this post.please does it mean that as a non EU/UK,that I don’t have a chance to do Obstetrics And Gynaecology or Paediatrics.Please help me I really want to be sure to direct my future.Thank you

    1. It is very easy to find training in pediatrics, medicine, GP, A&E, psychiatry and other non-surgical fields (dermatology being an exception).

      Getting into OBGYN is difficult.

  18. Hi Dr Khan and thank you very much for all your assistance and efforts.

    Yesterday I found out that I passed my PLAB 2 and I am a bit overwhelmed about the ‘what’s next step’. If I have the chance to find a FY2 post do you think it would be better than an SHO post?

    So ONLY UK nationals can pursue a Cardiology training? That is a bit unfair as many great candidates are excluded. The only way is to wait 5 years, get the UK passport and then apply? I am also interested in training in Dermatology; is it a hard training to enter?

    Also, after contacting the Foundation Programme and a couple of trusts, the 7.5 in EVERY subject of the IELTS seems that applies only to FY1. What I have been told was that the trusts are much flexible in regards of this, especially if you have passed the PLAB examination which is an obvious demonstration of the English language command. Thought it would be an interesting information to share.

    Thanks for your advice!

    1. Congratulations on passing your exam! 🙂

      Keep in mind that there are two kinds of FY2 jobs:

      A. Training (also known as LAT or Standalone FY2).
      B. Non-Training (also known as Trustgrade FY2).

      For the training FY2, you do need a valid IELTS with at least 7.5 in each section and 7.5 overall as well. For non-training FY2, you do not need IELTS. I hope that makes the importance of IELTS clear.

      Getting a training FY2 is very difficult since they are not always available; most FY1 doctors go to FY2 and there are almost no vacancies left.

      Also keep in mind that non-training FY2, SHO, CT1 or ST1 jobs are more or less the same jobs with different names. So you should apply for all of them, regardless of their name.

      Lastly, cardiology and dermarolotgy are both difficult to find. However, I did recently receive an email from an IMG who is ST3 Cardiololgy and I have heard of others too. If they share their wisdom with me, I will definitely pass it on.

      Best of luck! 🙂

  19. Thank you very much for your reply and your wishes Dr Khan.

    Apologies for bothering you again with a question, but can I ask you what do you think is the best course of action? Find a non-training position for some time and then go straight to ST1/CT1 or I will def need a training FY2 position in order to progress to specialty/core training?

    Also, do you know if Cardiology has core training in the beginning?

    Again, thank you very much!

    Many best wishes 🙂

    1. I think it is best to start your UK career with a non-training FY2/SHO/CT1/ST1/TrustGrade post.

      You can get your FY2 competency form signed. This competency form will make you equal to someone who has completed FY2. Thus, you will be able to apply for Core Training. This form can be signed by any consultant, from your home country or the UK, under whom you have worked for at least 3 months during the last 3 years.

      The above-mentioned route is taken by nearly all International Medical Graduates in the UK.

      Cardiology training begins at ST3 level and is hard to find. You can only apply for ST3 level posts after you have completed MRCP and Core Training (or if you have got your Core Training competencies signed). So it would be best to go through two years of Core Medical Training and pass your MRCP during this time to be able to apply for ST3 Cardiology. But keep in mind that you will need more guidance to be able to find ST3 Cardiology, since it is not easy to find.

      You should look for people who have found ST3 Cardiology training.

      1. That means that the consultant who supervised me during my post-grad internship in my home-country could sign the Declaration of Foundation Competence Equivalence form and could be accepted?

        So it seems I need to do some ST3 Cardiology trainees hunting 🙂

        Once again, thank you very much Dr Khan!

        Many best wishes!

      2. Yes, they can and it has worked for my friends. 🙂

        You’re welcome! 😊
        All the best! 😊

        If you do find any information on Cardiology training, please do share it with me. Thank you! 😊

  20. Most certainly I will Dr Khan 🙂

    Thank you again for all your information and patience!
    Many best wishes 🙂

  21. Dr naseer you are doing a wonderful job.
    I would like to know more about runthrough do we apply for it,what is the criteria and the level of competition.

  22. Hello Nasser, I plan to finish my plab 2 by august and hopefully get my first job in UK by end year/Jan. My main aim is to get into core medical training. I see that the applications begin in feb/march. I have seen the scoring system and the only thing i have is some publications. I have worked in India so should have my competencies done. My question is how competitive is CMT and would i be able to get in by just doing well in the interview? I do not mind going to any part of the uk. TY

    1. Each and every single friend of mine who applied for CMT this year, found training. Some of them only had MBBS, IELTS, PLAB and a few months of training experience, without any research, audits or anything else. But ALL of them found CMT slots, even the ones who had bad interviews. So will you. No need to worry. Just get your competencies signed.

  23. Dear Naseer,
    Regarding Cardiology ST3 round 2 training positions, Do you mean they never open it in round 2 for non-UK/EEA nationals !! does this mean IMGs can’t get into a training ST3 position !!?
    Thank you so much for your help.

    1. That is what their website says. But I have heard from my friends that IMGs do find ST3 cardiology posts. I am not sure how. This is a grey area and people are not willing to help so far. If I find anything, I will share for sure. Good luck! 🙂

  24. Hello
    Sir What Pathway can with unaaceptable pattern of housejob use to secure further job in UK?
    Can one go for CMT ofter complete whole mrcp pathway.
    Because I want to apply for Cardiology in future and I have heard we can only apply for it in round one.
    As I m a pakistani national what options do I have?

    1. With an unacceptable pattern of internship, you will have to apply for FY1 and complete your House Job in the U.K.

      Yes, one can go for CMT after completing MRCP. But it wouldn’t make sense as one would be eligible for ST3.

      And yes, finding cardiology training is not easy.

  25. Are there any indians applying for CMT jobs and getting approved straight after MBBS.

  26. Salam Dr. Naseer Khan,
    I certainly appreciate your insightful posts. I have a query regarding getting training in UK.
    If you are experienced in particular speciality(more than 18 months ), UK won’t offer u training in that speciality?

    Do you have comments on that please.Regards

  27. Hi Dr. Naseer. I remember reading on one of the blogs that you can apply in round 1 if you’re working in the same trust. Can you please shed some light on this

    1. From what I know, you can apply in round 1 if you have a training post anywhere in the UK. I can not confirm this but this is what I’ve heard from my friends who are in training.

      It would be best to check official websites.

  28. Hi can u please tell me if core training is most important for for run through specialities like radiology

  29. Thanks for your helpful notes and efforts
    I have worked as an internal medicine resident for 3 years in my home country
    I have 2 Qs :
    1-from what I understand from your answers If I want to work in medicine I should apply After PLAB2 for no training then training in medicine ?? what about (If you are experienced in particular specialty (more than 18 months ), UK won’t offer u training in that specialty?) I don not understand that , is it means i will not be able to get a training job in medicine through PLAB or what plz clarify ?
    2-If I want to go through OBS and GYNA should I take non training for the whole 6 years in Obs and Gyna then Apply for training ?
    Thanks very much for your help

    1. 1. That is right but this rule does not exist for Medicine any more.
      2. You can, but you will become ineligible if you work for more than 18 months in OBGYN.

      1. Dr naseer, i am presently doing emergency medicine jobs in india and cleared MRCEM UK EXAM.what are chances to switch off to another speciality after mrcem.

  30. You are GOLD!!! Such an amazing job!!!!!!!!!
    Can you answer my question please.
    If you want to be a consultant in internal medicine in uk, what preference should you take for CMT and then how will it proceed? i mean how many years would it likely take from just pass plab 2 to consultant internal medicine? any idea for IMG from Pakistan…
    and then will that have any scope in Pakistan once you become a consultant in UK and want to practice in Pakistan.
    I am sorry if I am questioning more and more and taking your precious time….thanks for your honest reply in anticipation.

  31. Hi Doctor
    Your post are very beneficial .
    I am ecfmg certified ,doing step 3 usmle …with medical officer experience from my home country in FM with maternity clinic ….
    I have one pubmed publication in obgyn with obgyn rotations in USA ,but due to some reasons want to shift to uk …..
    I do not have training .
    I have one year internship from home country …
    I am a Canadian citisen .

    I want to do training in obgyn and my second choice will GP training ..

    Can you please guide me ,how competitive is obgyn for me to get the training post …

    And how competitive will be for me to get FY2 in obgyn …

    How can I enhance my cv for

    Do you think as obgyn is ST 1 ,,,,so after round 1 the slots get empty to be filled by obgyn programmes …

    Thanks waiting for your reply .

  32. Do you think as obgyn is ST1 training ,do slots get empty after round 1 to be filled by international medical graduates …

    As you said 18 months in obgyn makes you ineligible …u mean by training in home country not in uk ..
    Like if I do FY2 in obgyn in uk for 1 year and continue my job in that wil I be elliegible .

  33. How about Radiology . Can IMGs apply for a training post there if they are receiving training already in another country in this field ? Thanks in advance.

  34. Could you please guide as to what the pathway (or requirements that need to be fulfilled) would be for an IMG to becoming and practicing as a surgeon in the UK?

  35. Thank you for this blog, it is very helpful!
    I have the following questions:
    – do medical electives at undergraduate level count in your cv?
    – how to make cv better? I mean where is it better to do audits, presentations etc?
    -can i apply to foundation year after doing my 5 year mbbs at pakistan? Or do i complete my internship then apply for training job? I mean is fhe former possible?
    Thanks in advance

    1. 1. They do. But they don’t make a difference.
      2. You should complete your internship and then apply for a non-training job in the UK. Then switch to a training job in the UK.

  36. Good day Dr Naseer! Your blog is such a blessing honestly, a lot of us always had questions but don’t have the right people to contact to guide us or anything of that sort. Thank you very much for creating such a wonderful platform, its wonderful, may Allah reward you abundantly. Sir I have the following scenario please put me through :
    1. I am going to start my internship in September 2018 which has the total duration of 48weeks,with 15wks in surgery, 15wks in internal medicine, 4wks in O&G,3wks in pediatrics, 2wks respectively in the following departments ;radiology, emergency medicine, neurology, otorhinolaryngology,ophthalmology and then 1week in dermatology and venereology department. Is this an acceptable pattern of internship please?
    2.During or immediately after my internship I intend to take the IELTS exams. That’s OK right?
    3.I also intend to take the PLAB 1 immediately after my internship.
    4.My question here is, after obtaining my MBBS certificate, Internship proves,IELTS and PLAB 1 can I apply for a non training job in the UK, then in the process write my PLAB 2?
    5. If I can apply for a non training job without PLAB 2, which posts are available to apply for and what do I need before applying for those posts?
    6.Or do I necessarily have to complete my PLABS(both 1n 2), get full reg. with the GMC before applying for both training and non training jobs?
    7.Lastly, can I only obtain full registration with GMC after only having completed my PLAB 2?
    Please try to put me through, I apologize for my very lengthy text,please pardon me…I hope my request reaches your kind consideration. Thank you very much for your patience and efforts to help us!

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