Training and development (ID)

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.

You will need to complete core training after your two-year foundation programme. Core training (CT1-2 or 3) has a choice of two pathways:

  • core medical training – CMT, which is a two-year programme
  • acute care common stem – ACCS (acute medicine), which is a three-year programme

Programmes generally consist of four to six placements in medical specialties which must include direct involvement in the acute medical take. Trainees record their workplace based assessments in an ePortfolio which they continue to use in specialty training.

Applicants for specialty training at ST3 should also hold the full MRCP (UK). Not all applicants who meet the required standard to continue will necessarily be offered a post due to the level of competition.

Core training is followed by combined infection training (CIT) which lasts a minimum of two years (ST3-4).

After CIT, the four specialties have their own separate Higher Specialty Training programmes leading to a certificate of completion of training (CCT) in an individual infection specialty as follows:

  • Infectious Diseases (ID) – minimum of two years
  • Medical Microbiology (MM) – minimum of two years
  • Medical Virology (MV) – minimum of two years
  • Tropical Medicine (TM) – minimum of three years

Joint specialty training programmes are also available in some but not all areas in:

  • Infectious Diseases and General Internal Medicine – minimum of three years
  • Tropical Medicine and General Internal Medicine – minimum of four years
  • Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology – minimum of three years
  • Infectious Diseases and Medical Virology – minimum of three years

At the time of application candidates can be in competition for all available posts across all four infection specialties. They will be able to preference their preferred CCT single specialty or joint specialties during the recruitment process.

Most trainees undertake research leading to an MD or PhD degree at some point in training.

The specialty is well suited to flexible training and working patterns.

Getting in tips

It is important to develop your practical skills and interest in infection as early as you can. This will also give you valuable experience 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. 

    • opportunities in medical training to visit infectious diseases departments is limited so make an effort to find out about this specialty
    • join your university medical society
    • attend conferences for medical students – many are free – 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 trainee member, eg the British HIV Association and the British Infection Association
    • 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 career thinking
    • choose an elective related to infection and/or experience overseas
    • remember your first priority is to demonstrate that you have developed the personal, learning, clinical, practical and management skills needed by all doctors
    • think laterally when applying for rotations – vacancies may not be available in infectious diseases so apply for a rotation in a related field such as genitourinary medicine
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • write case reports or make presentations with a focus on infectious diseases
    • enter essay prizes and competitions
    • speak to consultants about what the role is like
    • join the British Infection Association and get help with navigating your way through specialty training
    • read as much information as you can on the websites of relevant professional bodies
    • 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
    • consider taking time out to do the Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, especially if interested in a career in tropical medicine
    • consider taking time out for a short spell working overseas with eg with charities such as Medecins sans Frontieres, Save the Children or similar organisations
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