Training and development (CPT)

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.

The approved postgraduate training programme for clinical pharmacology and therapeutics is available from the GMC curriculum for clinical pharmacology and therapeutics.

The full training programme for clinical pharmacology and therapeutics lasts a minimum of six years. Selection takes place before entry to ST1 (after the foundation programme) and again before entry to ST3.

You will need to complete core training after your two-year foundation programme. ‘Core training’ has a choice of two pathways:

  • internal medicine stage 1, which is a three-year programme. 
  • acute care common stem – ACCS (acute medicine), which is a four-year programme

Stroke medicine is a subspecialty training programme open to clinical pharmacology and therapeutics trainees. Trainees should express an interest in stroke training before their final year so that the first year of stroke training can be integrated into their main specialty training. A second year of advanced stroke medicine training is required to reach the level required of consultants. Entry to stroke training is by competitive interview. Currently, there are two to three candidates for every post.

Getting in tips

These tips will give you some ideas to add to your CV. Whether you're a medical student, foundation trainee or doing your core specialty training, there's information below to help you. 

    • join your university medical society
    • attend conferences for medical students – this will give you an opportunity to network and meet your future colleagues
    • get involved with the GMC (General Medical Council), eg medical students can participate in visits to medical schools as part of the GMC’s quality assurance process
    • consider joining the specialist society for your chosen specialty as a student member, eg the British Pharmacological Society
    • consider becoming a student member of the BMA (The British Medical Association is the trade union and professional association for doctors and provides careers advice)
    • make your specialty decisions in good time so that you can test it out before committing yourself, eg by using hospital visits and clinical placements arranged as part of your course to ask questions and observe people at work
    • choose the topic of your supervised research project carefully to test out your thinking
    • remember your first priority is to demonstrate that you have developed the personal, learning, clinical, practical and management skills needed by all doctors
    • talk to your clinical and educational supervisors about particular areas of interest to explore
    • use full placements to experience specialties that you might be interested in or apply for taster experiences if you can’t get a placement
    • don’t just look at the popular and more glamorous specialties when considering your career choice
    • talk with your peers about their career ideas and experiences – you may be able to help each other
    • listen to information and advice from more experienced doctors but make your own decisions
    • you must provisionally register with the GMC in year one of the Foundation Programme and become fully registered after successfully completing the first year
    • taking part in a clinical audit is important for your development as a doctor but you may be able to choose an audit project related to a specialty that interests you
    • ensure your Foundation e-portfolio has plenty of medical evidence and that this is kept properly up-to-date
    • try to gain teaching and management experience
    • look at competition ratios (ie the number of applicants to places) critically. Find out what is happening this year and spot any regional differences in competition ratios

    View the careers resources on the Foundation Programme website.

    • speak to consultants about what the role is like
    • read as much information as you can on the websites of relevant professional bodies
    • question your own perceptions and possible negative stereotypes of the specialty
    • impress interviewers by showing that your interest in the specialty is intrinsically motivated, ie you are drawn to the work and not just attracted by admiration of someone you have shadowed (You will also be happier in your career in that specialty many years later!)
    • be prepared to move to where the vacancies are
    • continue to develop your practical and academic expertise
    • undertake a research project
    • try to get some of your work published and present at national and international meetings
    • join or start a Journal Club (a group who meet to critically evaluate academic research)
    • teach junior colleagues
    • take on any management opportunities you are offered
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