Training and development (clinical oncology)

This page provides useful information on the training and development for this specialty and also has tips for people at all stages of their training including medical school.

Download the full image of the oncology pathway here

Specialty training in clinical oncology starts at ST3. After foundation training there are two options open to you before you can start specialist clinical oncology training:

There is a wide range of essential and desirable selection criteria which you need to fulfil before being accepted for specialist clinical oncology ST3 training (see below for all criteria in NHS Person Specification).

You will need at least 24 months experience in medical specialties (not including foundation training) of which at least 12 months must include the care of acute medical in-patients. Experience in certain acute common stem specialties can be counted towards the 24 months in some circumstances.

It is essential that you can demonstrate awareness of the basics of managing patients with cancer.

It is also now also essential that you have achieved membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP), part 1 (or acceptable equivalent) before you apply and part 2 by the time your clinical oncology post starts.

It is desirable that you should have:

It is also desirable to have experience at CT/ST levels one and two of managing patients with cancer disease and managing cancer-related emergencies before you commence ST3 training.

Evidence of training and skills in the management of acute medical emergencies, (e.g. ALERT, IMPACT certification) is also desirable.

Selection panels also look for evidence of academic and research achievements, which as well as additional academic qualifications include prizes, awards, distinctions, publications and presentations. An understanding of research, audit and teaching is also important as is evidence of the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team. Good leadership and organisational skills are also important.

Entry is competitive so you will need achievements that are relevant to clinical oncology. It is desirable that your portfolio has evidence of audit/quality improvement projects, with the principles of change management.  Evidence of exceptional achievement in medicine is also desirable.

Detailed entry requirements and all essential and desirable criteria are listed in the person specification 2017 for clinical oncology ST3.

All 2017 person specifications can be found on the NHS specialty training website. Please note that these documents are updated every year in the autumn before the recruitment round opens.

Clinical oncology specialty training starts at ST3 and proceeds to ST7. Training usually lasts for five years after which you to achieve a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT). You are then eligible to join the specialist register and can apply for consultant posts.

Training is divided into:

It is possible to undertake an out of programme activity during training, such as gaining experience in another UK cancer centre or spending time undertaking research.

A period of research is encouraged during training – up to six months of full-time research in clinical oncology or related sciences is allowed, which can be extended to twelve months by the Royal College of Radiologists.

The GMC provides information on the curriculum for clinical oncology training.

Information on the curriculum is also available on the Royal College of Radiologist’s website.

This information is correct at the time of writing. Full and accurate details of training pathways are available from medical royal colleges, local education and training boards (LETBs) or the GMC.

It is possible to undertake an out of programme activity during training, such as gaining experience in another UK cancer centre or spending time undertaking research.

A period of research is encouraged during training – up to six months of full-time research in clinical oncology or related sciences is allowed, which can be extended to twelve months by the Royal College of Radiologists.

The GMC provides information on the curriculum for clinical oncology training.

Information on the curriculum is also available on the Royal College of Radiologist’s website.

This information is correct at the time of writing. Full and accurate details of training pathways are available from medical royal colleges.

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