GP ST1 recruitment timeline
Historically, the GP ST1 selection process was based on a combination of the MSRA exam result and an interview. Those scoring in the top 10% of the MSRA were offered a training post without an interview. The remaining 90% underwent a face-to-face selection process.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the assessment and selection process will be entirely based on your MSRA exam score. Whilst this avoids the need for prepping for an interview, it undoubtedly puts more pressure onto scoring well in the MSRA. Applicants will be ranked in a single national list based on their performance. Offers are made in rank order based on this national ranking.
Note, the selection process may change for subsequent application rounds. The GP National Recruitment Office (GPNRO) state that the current process ‘will not set a precedent for future delivery of GP recruitment’.
Requirements for GP training application
Unlike many other specialities, there is no specific portfolio requirement for GP. Nevertheless, thinking about developing your CV remains essential if you want to secure a job in your practice of choice in the future as a fully qualified GP. Many GPs acquire additional post-graduate qualifications, such as the DRCOG.
For a comprehensive guide on the MSRA – check out my article here!
As mentioned earlier – your final ranking is based entirely on your MSRA score. Therefore, preparation is key.
There are two component parts to the MSRA: a Professional Dilemmas paper and a Clinical Problem Solving paper.
- Professional Dilemmas (95 minutes)
- Similar format to the SJT.
- Designed to assess your responses to challenging situations that may arise while working as a junior doctor.
- Clinical Problem Solving (75 minutes)
- Based on the foundation programme curriculum
- I found it very similar to medical school finals, with the questions more clinically based
During the application process on Oriel, you are asked to provide a ‘supporting statement’ with a 200-word limit. Think about why you want to apply for GP and what makes it an attractive career – there are so many reasons!
- Continuity of patient care
- Portfolio career
- Wide range of patient ages
- Ability to develop a special interest
- Opportunities to get involved with medical education
You will need three references for this job application. These cannot be relatives or friends, but professional references including people who know you and have worked with you. This could include your educational/clinical supervisors amongst others.
Can you apply and postpone your start date?
The key thing to remember is to TAKE THE EXAM, even if you don’t think you want to start GP training this application cycle. If you score well on the MSRA, you can hold your score for 12 months and use it for the next application cycle. This saves you the stress of repeating the exam! And if you don’t manage to score well – no worries; you’ve gained a valuable experience completing a free mock, which will help you improve your score for next time. It’s a win-win situation, and I highly recommend attempting the exam regardless of your intent to join the training scheme this application cycle.
The key thing to remember is that you cannot defer a specific job post (e.g. a GP training post in Lewisham). Instead, you can transfer your MSRA score (the Single Transferable Score).
So, for example, I scored within the top 10% during the last application cycle, but I decided not to accept the training post. But as I got a good score, I chose to transfer this score to the current application cycle.
GP training remains competitive; in the 2021 application cycle, 7640 people applied for 4269 jobs. In particular, this competition ratio increases for popular areas; for example, London has a competition ratio of 3.2.
TERS Schemes - The Golden Handshake
TERS stands for Targeted Enhancement Recruitment Scheme. This scheme offers financial incentives (the so-called ‘golden handshake’ of £20,000) to doctors who take up training posts in locations with a history of under recruitment or deprived areas. You’ll be surprised by some of the regions included, making it a desirable option. Check out this website for the latest TERS options.
A few of my colleagues who chose a TERS post didn’t realise that the bonus is subject to tax, so it is often much less than you expect! Bear this in mind before you factor 20K into your house deposit, for example!
Ultimately, give the official applicant handbook a good read. Good luck with your applications!