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New eligibilty criteria for Neurology ST3 recruitment from 2016

In 2016 the JRCPTB issued revised criteria for ST3 applications, including the requirement that, if not currently on a CMT rotation, the applicant's CMT sign-off must have been more recent than 1st January of the year three years prior to that in which the application is being made, i.e. 1st Jan 2014 for 2017 applicants.

Anyone failing to meet this requirement must submit an Alternative Certificate of Core Competence with their application, which requires a consultant physician with whom the applicant has worked with in a clinical role for at least 3 months to sign off, one-by-one, all CMT competencies, including procedures such as central lines and chest drains.

This will affect any applicants who have done a PhD plus maternity leave, a PhD plus LAT or a 4-year PhD, and also those changing specialty, for example from neurology to neurophysiology, even if there has been no break in clinical work since CMT.

Many affected trainees have been in touch with us concerned by these changes. These concerns have been raised with JRCPTB by the ABNT, the ABN, the Neurology SAC and the RCP. JRCPTB have not changed the criteria but have responded with clearer updated advice, available in full on the ST3 recruitment website (select the "Alternative" tab).

In practice, if you are applying for ST3 this year and your CMT sign-off was before 1st Jan 2014, you should:

  1. Get in touch with JRCPTB for advice on your own personal situation by emailing them at

  2. Download the Alternative Certificate of Core Competence form from the ST3 recruitment website.

  3. Discuss all the competencies on the form with your primary clinical supervisor as soon as possible, and tick off what you can together. You do not need to have practised all competences within the three-year period but whoever is signing the form needs to be satisfied that there is no reason why these competences are in doubt and that they believe you are sufficiently core medical competent to progress to ST3.

  4. Contact any consultants who supervise you during on-calls and other clinical activities for any competencies they can vouch for and put your current clinical supervisor in touch with them. It is permissible for a supervisor to sign off competences which they have not personally witnessed, provided they have satisfactory assurance from a colleague that the competence has been gained.

  5. Contact your CMT supervisor and put your current supervisor in touch with them. Again, it is permissible for a supervisor to sign off competences which they have not personally witnessed, provided they have satisfactory assurance from a colleague that the competence has been gained. If you are unable to get in touch with your CMT supervisor, review your CMT ePortfolio with your current clinical supervisor.

  6. Discuss with whoever is signing your form whether you should do a few courses to brush up on acute skills: e.g. ALS, procedures, etc. Even if the courses are after the application date, your clinical supervisor may feel more comfortable signing off your competencies if they know you will be doing these courses before starting your ST3 post.

  7. Consider a covering letter from your clinical supervisor outlining your general competencies and how you have maintained/refreshed them, you attitude to CPD, etc. The form itself remains very rigid and a covering letter may help explain any apparent gaps or inconsistencies.

  8. Collate a list of all your regular clinical activities in order to demonstrate that you have had at least three months full-time equivalent clinical work during the past three years. A regular weekly clinic is sufficient to meet this requirement.

Do please let us know if you encounter any difficulties during the application process. The new criteria will be reviewed after this round of applications and the more I hear back from you about how it went, the better able we are able to represent trainees' views during the review process.

Good luck!

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