Applying to radiology training (UK)
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Application to radiology training in the UK is through a centralised process for England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland's radiology training recruitment remains as a separate process.
Applications are open to those who are completing or who have completed their Foundation Training or equivalent competencies by commencement of the radiology training programme in August that year.
All administration for the national recruitment programme is coordinated through London Shared Services and is accessed through the Oriel recruitment website.
Radiology is a popular training programme and this is reflected in the competition for places (competition ratio around 3.5 for the last few years). Figures for the national recruitment since 2010 are available on the RCR website. In 2019, 967 candidates applied for 278 posts (3.48 applicants for each available post) 1.
There are equivalent applicant rates from Foundation training, and those in core or specialty programmes, but no data on successful offers.
Specialty recruitment assessment (SRA)
The SRA (occasionally termed multi-specialty recruitment assessment or MSRA) was introduced into radiology recruitment in 2016, following its use in other programmes including general practice, ophthalmology, neurosurgery and psychiatry.
There are two components to the SRA including professional dilemmas, 58 questions (similar to the situational judgment test, SJT) and clinical problem solving, 97 questions (based on FY level knowledge and practice) 3.
Since its introduction, about 7 in 10 applicants progress to being invited for interview 1. As well as determining eligbility for interview, the SRA score achieved by each candidate also contributes 33% of their final interview total.
Interviews are usually held in central London in February.
Prior to the SRA, the interview process was split into five sections lasting eight minutes each including commitment to specialty, portfolio / audit evaluation, radiology skills, ethics / professionalism, and a preparation station.
Since the SRA, there are now two 10 minute interview stations (and a further preparation station) which have varied in composition over the last few years but again cover a number of these themes:
Commitment and understanding of radiology as a career
This station tries to assess if you as a candidate know what you are signing up to. Questions can including asking about taster weeks or radiology courses you have attended, your knowledge of the examination diet for radiology, and about the various types of training scheme on offer in the UK (including academies).
A number of clinical situations can be discussed in this section including professionalism, working with colleagues, consent, research ethics and communication skills. This was certainly included prior to the SRA, but may be seen less frequently as a number of these domains will have already been assessed.
The candidates' portfolio will be assessed in this station showing evidence of presentations, publications, postgraduate qualifications, and courses attended. Taster weeks and other evidence of time in and working with radiology is becoming essential and can be highlighted in this station.
Radiology knowledge / skills
Image interpretation was historically included here, but has fallen out of favor in recent years. This section may include prioritisation skills for requests or critiquing a radiology report (which you may have had in the preparation station). Clinical scenarios can be discussed (also assessing professionalism). This is also a section where any teaching (with feedback) and research with radiology components can be assessed.
Initial applications are usually accepted in November, with the SRA taking place in early January. Interviews commence in mid-late February with successful offers circulated in early March 2. Radiology training posts, like many other posts in the NHS, commence on the first Wednesday of August.