Working in Radiology in the UK:

by Abeera Khan

Lately a lot of people have been asking about opportunities to work in the UK considering you have overseas experience in Radiology. RCR website itself has a lot of information on everything you need to know.

Pathways of working in Radiology:

Apply for Radiology training at ST1 level. It is a National Recruitment process done annually. It has only one Round and applications open in November followed by longlisting, MSRA, shortlisting, interview process and offers. Please see Person Specification of Radiology which are published every year to see if you are eligible.

N.B: If you have more than 18 months experience in Clinical Radiology (excluding Foundation training), you are overqualified for ST1 level and can not apply.

This is the issue faced by most of the doctors who wish to move to the UK after completing their degree back home. There is no standard recruitment at ST3 level or above like other specialties. You may find some fellowships but make sure you have a look at the job description and person specification as they could be competitive.

So, what options do you have. First and foremost, you need GMC registration to work.

Routes for obtaining GMC registration

This has been explained on RCR website

https://www.rcr.ac.uk/clinical-radiology/careers-and-recruitment/routes-general-medical-council-gmc-registration

To put it simple, you have the following options.

Option 1: PLAB test

Option 2: Complete FRCR

Option 3: MTI route (for those who are not in the UK can come via this route for a certain time, mostly 2 years)

Option 4: An acceptable overseas registration exam. Recently GMC has introduced route to GMC registration for overseas graduates who have passed USMLE, Canadian Qualification exam or Australian medical Council examination before a certain set date. Link below for further details

https://www.gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/join-the-register/registration-applications/application-guides/full-registration-for-imgs-who-have-passed-an-acceptable-overseas-registration-exam

So what is the best option?

It really depends on what suits you and is at your discretion.

Option 1 – PLAB much easier, doable and takes less time. Gives you the opportunity to work in any specialty.

Option 2– FRCR, best possible option but longer and tougher than the former. You need 3 years’ experience to sit for 2B.  Also, with current COVID situations, recent exams have been cancelled with priority given to the UK trainees. Please see RCR website for exam dates, centres, and eligibility.

Recently there has been opening of FRCR exam centres in India.

https://www.rcr.ac.uk/clinical-radiology/exams

Option 3: MTI route- Not for those who are already in the UK. Personally, I do not know anyone who has come to the UK in Radiology via MTI. But the process has been explained in detail on the RCR website.

https://www.rcr.ac.uk/clinical-radiology/careers-recruitment/medical-training-initiative-mti

Application Process | The Royal College of Radiologists (rcr.ac.uk)

Please see additional documents ( MTI process flowchart and formatting your MTI CV at the right hand corner) on the above link

Most frequently asked question. I have more than 18 months experience in Radiology. What should I do?

Once have GMC registration in hand, and with overseas experience (FRCR Part 1/2A or equivalent e.g., a fellowship degree from your home country), you can apply for Trust grade posts in Radiology.

You can find a few on NHS jobs website. These could be advertised as Specialty doctor, Radiology Registrar or Clinical Fellow posts. Yes, I agree these are scarce, but I came across few adverts myself which have now recently closed in January/February 2021. It would also be worthwhile visiting local hospitals or enquiring HR from various hospitals as sometimes departments have vacant slots or need people to cover Rota gaps (maternity leaves etc) but posts are not advertised as not many candidates are looking for these kind of jobs.

You do not need Full FRCR for these posts. Most of the posts require GMC registration with some Radiology experience. Having FRCR Part 1 +/- 2A or equivalent stands you a good chance. If you get offered such a job, avail the opportunity. It will also make easier for you to sit for FRCR exams as you will be working in the NHS.

Here is a link to two job adverts and person specifications which I came across recently. These have now closed.  Just adding in as a reference.

https://www.jobs.nhs.uk/xi/vacancy/916307284 (Application closed 04/01/2021)

Person specification-Radiology.pdf

https://www.jobs.nhs.uk/xi/vacancy/916336702 (Application closed 04/02/2021)

You can also apply for jobs other than Radiology if you cannot find any and then work your way towards Radiology. Please remember having NHS experience in any specialty would help you a lot.

Fellowship:

If you have FRCR (full or 2A), you can apply for fellowship posts. These are mostly at ST4/ST5+ level. These are also advertised on NHS jobs. Make sure you go through the job description and person specifications for each job as you would be expected to perform at a certain level of training.

CESR in Radiology:

Once you have full FRCR, you can apply for CESR. See RCR website link below. Also, worthwhile having a look at the 2021 Clinical Radiology Curriculum. A lot of doctors pursue this pathway and surely many have attained Specialist Registration through this. It takes time, commitment and a lot of paperwork. RCR offer guidance to candidates pursuing CESR and its best to get advice from them.

https://www.rcr.ac.uk/clinical-radiology/careers-and-recruitment/specialist-registration-cesr

Also see GMC website for structuring your CV for CESR

https://www.gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/join-the-register/registration-applications/structuring-your-cv-for-a-specialist-or-gp-registration-application

RCR Curriculum

https://www.rcr.ac.uk/clinical-radiology/specialty-training/curriculum/clinical-radiology-curriculum

How is the training structured in the UK?

Core training 3 years in which you complete the core curriculum

Subspecialty training– 2 years/ 3 years for IR

The shadowing on-call and independent on-calls vary in different schemes so if you are offered a job, make sure you ask them about the structure of on-calls as its different in different hospitals.

I am sure you will not be asked to do on-calls straight away as it needs time to adjust into the system. You need to know how things work so you are confident and independent in making the decisions. Training here is quite different to back home. Ask to be put on shadowing on-call Rota.

The on-call work also varies in different hospitals ranging from a DGH to a tertiary level hospital/Trauma centres. Make sure you google the area and hospital you are being interviewed for.

The on-call work mainly encompasses taking requests from Clinicians, prioritising CT scans that need to be done overnight, vetting, and reporting of CT scans from ED and wards. You can get calls for reviewing CXR for lines, pneumothorax, effusions or occasionally trauma X-rays. Ultrasound work can vary depending on the hospital. Honestly, sometimes the phone calls are non-stop and you need to keep up with the reporting.

Keep record of your training:

Please keep a record of all activities you do in your training no matter where you train. Knowledge, skills, teaching, audits, publications, posters, oral presentations, feedback, everything counts. These things are recorded on our e-portfolio throughout our training in the UK and are assessed annually by a panel before we move on to the next year.

Organising and planning would help you in the long run especially if you are aiming for specialist registration.

All the best everyone. One can achieve anything if you have the will and patience to pursue your dreams. Have a look at a small video about overseas trained Radiologists working in the UK that’s available on RCR website.

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