Training Pathway United Kingdom

Rehabilitation Medicine Training Pathway in United Kingdom

Dr Fahim Anwar MRCS, MRCPS Glasgow, FRCP, FEBPRM
Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine
Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Addenbrooke’s Hospital
Hill’s Road
Cb2 0QQ

Rehabilitation medicine is a very interesting and innovative specialty, which involves working with individuals with complex disability to improve their quality of life.

Training Pathways for UK Graduates

The UK medical graduates spend 4 or 5 years in medical school before being awarded the MBChB (equivalent to MBBS). The graduated from the medical school enters into 2 years foundation programme (FY1 and FY2), which consists of six four monthly rotations in in various medical and surgical specialties including accidents and emergency and general practice. Entry into the foundation years is through an application. After finishing the foundation year training the graduates enter into core medical / surgical training (CT 1 and CT 2). During the core medical and surgical training they are expected to pass their receptive membership exams. Once they finish the core medical training and only after completing their membership exams they can apply for the specialty-training programme through national training schemes. The training programme starts at Speciality Trainee Level 1 (ST1) and consists of 4 to 7 years depending on the requirement of a particular speciality. Some specialties may have an exit exam that trainees are expected to pass before they finish their training and expected to apply for the consultant posts.

Training Pathways in Rehabilitation Medicine for UK Graduates

UK graduates can join the rehabilitation medicine training programme after finishing their core medical training and completing the membership exam. UK graduates who have completed their core training in medicine, surgery, psychiatry or general practice (MRCP, MRCS, MRCGP, MRCPsych) are eligible to apply for the specialist training in rehabilitation medicine through the national training scheme. Once they are successful in the specialist training selection process then a place on the training programmes is offered on the basis of candidate performance, choice and availability of the training post in a particular area. The training programme in rehabilitation medicine consists of 4 years of training in various aspects of the speciality with Work-place Based Assessment and Annual Review of Clinical Competencies (ARCP). Currently there is no exit exam for the speciality, however the trainees are expected and encouraged to appear and pass the European Board of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. The trainees who want to develop particular interest in various aspect of the speciality can take up fellowship posts ranging form 6 months to one year in duration. After finishing the training the trainees are awarded with Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in Rehabilitation Medicine by the General Medical Council (GMC) and their name is included in the specialist register by the GMC. 6 months before finings their training and depending on the successful ARCP the trainees become eligible to apply for the substantive consultant posts in the National Health System (NHS).

Training Pathways in Rehabilitation Medicine for International Medical Graduates (IMG):

The first step in working within the United Kingdom for IMG in to obtain the GMC registration. IMG can apply for either provisional or full registration depending on the acceptable internship in their respective countries that is equivalent to foundation programmes in the UK. To apply for the GMC registration it is mandatory to show English Language Capability by achieving a minimum score in the academic version of the IELTS test. The test is conducted in various cities in Pakistan through the British Council. Once the IMG has passed the IELTS test then the GMC registration is through these three main routes.

  • A pass in PLAB test
  • An acceptable postgraduate qualification
  • Sponsorship by an approved sponsor.

Detailed information on the above three main routes is available on the GMC website through the following link:
Pathway of obtaining GMC registration

After obtaining the GMC registration the IMG’s are eligible to apply for job in the NHS at appropriate level. Before applying for any job in NHS some IMG would look for clinical attachment in any area of medical practice just to familiarize them with the system and arrange for a UK referee. The entry to the UK training programme system would depend on the prior experience of the trainee. If they do not have membership exam then its is advisable that they apply for core medical, surgical or general practice training and obtain their membership. However if they already have cleared their membership exam then they can apply for the training programme in rehabilitation medicine. Some IMG’s would prefer to do a non-training job for 6 months to a year at the level of core trainee to have more experience of the NHS before they apply for training post. There are ample training posts and opportunities for rehabilitation medicine for IMG in the UK. Further information regarding training programmes in rehabilitation medicine is available for this website;

Before applying for the jobs make sure that you have a CV. NHS jobs are advertised on the following two websites:
Options for IMG’s after obtaining GMC registration

For IMG’s who have had their training outside the European Union (EU) and hold a post-graduate qualification in their own country, there is an alternative route to apply for their training to be recognized and included on the specialist register of the GMC. This route requires the IMG’s to provide information to GMC about themselves, their training and training programme. This requires a lot of effort, time and paper work for the IMG but could be rewarding in the end. The stepwise information regarding this rout and how to apply is available on the GMC website through the following link

British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine (BSRM) is the learned society for the rehabilitation medicine practitioners and there is a lot of information regarding the speciality and training on their website.

I am happy to answer individual queries regarding any matter related to the GMC registration, job opportunities and training in rehabilitation medicine on individual basis

Training Pathway for UK Graduate

Training Pathway for International Medical Graduates