Following medical school, foundation training and core training, the final part of training in the progression from trainee to consultant is specialty training, or 'higher specialty training'.
Applying to ST3
After core training has been completed (or more commonly, during the second year of core training), trainees who have chosen to seek a career in hospital medicine will then apply to vacant posts in the specialty/ies in which they wish to continue their training.
Upon selection to an ST3 post in a particular specialty, a trainee will then progress through several further years of training (typically between four and six) in the chosen specialty.
This will continue until the trainee completes their training and becomes a fully-qualified consultant in that specialty.
For those who have completed core and specialty training in a GMC approved programme within the UK, this will result in the award of a CCT (certificate of completion of training).
Those trainees who have completed some of their training outside of UK training, usually because they completed an alternative to UK core training, will receive a CESR-CP (certificate of entry to the specialist register - combined programme).
More information about certification can be found on the JRCPTB website.
Types of post
Most posts within the ST3 recruitment process are those described above, ie higher specialty training posts of several years in duration. Each trainee in one of these posts will be awarded a unique 'national training number'; hence these posts are referred to as 'NTN posts'.
The other type of post included in ST3 recruitment is the 'locum appointment for training', or LAT post. These are short-term training posts in a specialty, typically between six and 12 months in duration.
LAT posts are only available in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Trainees in LAT posts will be assigned educational supervisors and given appropriate clinical supervision; and as noted in the Gold Guide, documented competences gained in LAT posts by trainees can be taken into account by training programme directors on future specialty training programmes.