Training Pathway to Become a Consultant Doctor

The pathway to become a doctor, especially post-graduate training (which is all the stuff post-medical school) can be incredibly confusing. This article will explain everything you need to know to become a UK doctor.

What You Will Learn

Even after a few years of medical school, students find it hard to get a grasp of exactly what will happen to them after they graduate and become doctors. Therefore for someone who is outside of the medical field completely, it can look like a complicated mess.

In this article you will learn:

  • The pathway to become a GP
  • The typical time spent in medical school
  • What an intercalated BSc is
  • The difference between foundation year, speciality and core training

So let’s get started!

GP Example

To start with, let’s give an overview of what a possible training pathway can look like. The example pathway below is one that would be needed to be taken by a GP.

GP Training Pathway Example

This example is just that. An example. There are so many different pathways that a doctor could go through it would be way too much for this post.

At this point you are probably still very confused, so let’s start to break it down.

Medical School

Medical school is famous for being incredibly long and arduous. That is certainly true when you see that most degrees in the UK can be completed in 3 years.

On the other hand, people tend to spend around 5/6 years in medical school.

Standard Medical School 5 Year Pathway

What is an intercalated BSc?

You may know that medical students have the option of completing their own mini-degree.

This is a 1-year degree that medical students can take to learn about something they are interested in. In some Universities it is compulsory and in others it is optional. Other Universities don’t have it as an option at all.

Standard Medical School 6 Year Pathway + iBSc

What about GEPs?

GEP stands for Graduate Entry Programme.

These programmes are typically 4 years in length and condense the first two years of medical school into one. They can only be entered by someone who has done a previous degree.

Note: People who have done a previous degree can also apply for the ‘standard’ 5-year course.

Foundation Year Training

Foundation year training is the first two years that a doctor has to complete in the UK after medical school. The doctor does 4-month rotations in different specialities (e.g. August-November in Cardiology and then December-March in General Surgery). These doctors are referred to as F1 and F2 doctors (sometimes FY1 and FY2 )

Medical School and Foundation Years

What about F3?

You may hear a lot of people talking about an F3 year before doing their specialty training.

An F3 is essentially a year out.

It is almost like a gap year for doctors. People take it as an opportunity to travel and do something that would otherwise not be possible.

Core Training

Core training is split into two types: Core Medical Training and Core Surgical Training. This is where doctors decide if they want to go down the surgery route or the medicine route.

Core Training

Speciality Training

This is done after Core Medical/Surgical Training and is where a doctor finally decides which speciality they want to go into unless they have done a run-through speciality (see later).

Speciality Training

Run-Through Specialties

Run through specialities are those which do not require core training. You can just jump straight into it.

Run-Through Specialities

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