Healthcare :: 18,000 specialty training opportunities in England in 2007

Health Minister Lord Warner today confirmed that over 18,000 additional specialty training opportunities will be available in England in 2007 to accompany the introduction of the new specialty training structure under Modernising Medical Careers.

The reform of specialist medical training is the next stage of the Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) initiative, designed to improve the quality and safety of patient care through better education and training for doctors and ensure fully trained specialist doctors deliver more NHS services.

Health Minister Lord Warner said:

“A guaranteed minimum of 18,000 additional training places is excellent news as it represents a significant number of training opportunities – and many more than the alarmist predictions that came from some quarters earlier in the year.

“Doctors in training in England should consequently be pretty confident about securing a training post. Of course, as recruitment is competitive not everyone will be able to have their first choice specialty or location, but this has always been the case. The number of vacancies in each specialty and location is ultimately decided by the needs of patients and the NHS. We anticipate that there will be around 16,000 – 17,000 doctors currently in training in England eligible to apply for these positions, but we do not yet know how many doctors will apply from the EEA and overseas.”

Further opportunities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be announced separately by the administration in each country.

Provisional data based on the specialties within the Royal Colleges are shown below. These show, for example, there will be over 5,800 places in General Practice, 2,235 for surgery, 1800 for Psychiatry and 1390 vacancies for doctors who want to be paediatricians.

More detailed figures by specialty, level of entry and deanery will be placed on the MMC website ( on 21 December 2006. Some marginal variations to this information may follow as issues of detail are addressed locally – but these will give a clear indication to trainees of the opportunities available.

Final figures will be available as the recruitment process commences on 22 January. At that stage applicants will be able to register with the new national electronic Medical Training Application Service ( and view the detail of the programmes available.

To prepare in the meantime, trainees should refer to the Applicant’s Guide so that they are familiar with the recruitment process. They should also consider the person specifications for each specialty to assess at what level they should apply. All these documents are available on the MMC website along with a host of other information and frequently asked questions.

Approximate specialty training numbers by Royal College

Indicative Additional Training Opportunities by Specialty Group


Anaesthetics 1485

Emergency Medicine 870

General Practice 5800

Medicine 2980

Obstetrics & Gynaecology 835

Ophthalmology 290

Paediatrics 1390

Pathology 130

Psychiatry 1800

Public Health 50

Radiology 135

Surgery 2235

Doctors wishing to find out more about the changes to postgraduate medical education and the transitional arrangements should visit:

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