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A Guide to your CESR application

  • November 29, 2021

CESR stands for Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration and it is the route to specialist registration for Doctors who have not completed a GMC approved programme. Doctors that take this route must be able to confidently demonstrate that their specialist training, qualifications, and experiences are equivalent to the requirements for the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) award.

It is important to note that if you are an IMG who is currently working as a consultant in order to be able to enter into the NHS as a substantive Consultant you will need to apply to the specialist register when applying for GMC Registration. This process is extremely lengthy and requires you to provide a lot of documents; usually consisting of around 10,000 pages plus. CESR is speciality specific; if there’s no CCT specialty that closely matches yours, please use the generic guidance here.

How can you obtain specialist registration?

It is not unusual for Doctors working as a consultant abroad to have gaps in their qualifications and experiences that are required to obtain CESR. One option to rectify this is by fulfilling these gaps in the UK at an NHS Trust in a fixed term position that supports CESR. Here at BDI Resourcing we will be more than happy to help find you such a position!

Doctors who are not yet working at a consultant level can utilise the CESR CP route which recognises your training from abroad and allows you to complete your training in the UK. CESR CP is now recognised as CCT, to find out more click here.

A breakdown of CESR

What are the Advantages of CESR?

CESR holders can apply for substantive consultant posts in the UK.

Who can apply for CESR?

To apply you will need to have either a specialist qualification or have undertaken a period of specialist training (not less than 6 months anywhere in the world).

To receive CESR, you must show that your specialist qualifications and training, as well as any other knowledge, abilities, and experiences, are comparable to a CCT in a certain specialty.

How do I apply for CESR?

You must apply through the GMC, who will then forward your application to the appropriate Royal College for review.

This process is lengthy and can be stressful so it is important to read the GMC’s general guidance and speciality-specific guidance before putting together an application. CESR requires a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate your suitability for CESR.

Throughout your application, your demonstrated evidence will need to equivalate to the curriculum current at the time of application. You will also have to demonstrate that you gained the competencies and that you are currently maintaining those competencies across the depth and breadth of the curriculum.

What will the GMC assess my application on?

The GMC will test you under four domains which mirror Good Medical Practice.

  1. Knowledge, Skills and Performance
  2. Safety and Quality
  3. Communication, Partnership and Teamwork
  4. Maintaining Trust

You will not be able to compensate for lack of evidence in one area by offering extra evidence and knowledge in another area.

If my application is unsuccessful, what are my options?

If your CESR application is denied, you will have twelve months to request a review application twelve months after receiving the decision letter.

You would be expected to submit the evidence that you did not submit in your initial application during the review. Alternatively, under certain conditions, you may be able to file an appeal against the overall decision.

It Is Important to:

  • Anonymise your evidence appropriately.
  • Validate your evidence appropriately.
  • Authenticate your evidence appropriately.
  • Ensure that any documents that are not in English are properly translated.
  • Select the right referees

For further information on how to carry out the above please visit the GMC’s site.

Tips on applying for CESR

1. It is a marathon, not a sprint

The GMC claims that it can take between six-nine months between submitting your CESR application and receiving a decision. In addition, the process of preparing your documentation and applying for CESR can also take a similar amount of time.

We, therefore, advise that to estimate the amount of time it will take to get hold of the evidence you need for your CESR application, then double it.

2. E-portfolio

Having an e-portfolio is a good way of collecting and storing your evidence.

3. Acknowledge your missing skills and experience

From experience, doctors often worry that if their appraisal suggested that they were not ready to be a consultant in any way they were not ready. However, doctors have informed us that when their application was submitted, they were commended for identifying gaps in learning and experience and then trying to resolve them.

4. NHS pension statement

To apply for CESR, you are required to evidence your NHS employment history. The NHS pension scheme keeps a record of every place you have worked, so asking for a printout of your pension statement will provide you with a good list.

5. Consider all evidence that will contribute to your application

Doctors have revealed that the more evidence uploaded to support their application the better. The evidence you may not have considered can include your hand-washing certificate or your Trust’s equality and diversity questionnaire.

6. Inform someone

After you have made the decision to begin your CESR application you should tell your Clinical Director and Medical Director. This will allow them to provide you with support, guidance and advice. Furthermore, you should also look for any opportunities where you could step in as a consultant within your specialty. Examples include covering a consultant on a ward round or covering a consultant’s planned two-week leave. You should note that this is not mandatory but will most definitely strengthen your application.

What documents you will need:

There are a variety of documents that you can supply to evidence each of the specialty curriculum Domains. The following list is not exhaustive, and you may have alternative evidence. You also do not necessarily have to supply every type of evidence listed, but you must submit sufficient evidence to address each of the required learning outcomes and the associated key capabilities.

  • Workplace Appraisals
  • Multisource Feedback
  • Case Notes and Medical Reports
  • Clinical Letters to Patients and Colleagues
  • Skills Logs
  • Development Logs
  • CPD attendance record and training certificates
  • Reflective Notes
  • Assessment and appraisal of trainees and colleagues
  • Audit Reports and Presentations
  • Quality Improvement Projects, draft protocols, guidance
  • Incident Reports and examples of Risk management
  • Participation in clinical governance meetings
  • Responses to Complaints
  • Team Meetings or Case discussions
  • APLS/NLS certifications
  • Teaching schedules

How can we help?

We are able to help you find a position that will support your CESR application providing you have GMC.

If you are an IMG who wants to relocate to the UK and work within the NHS send your CV to [email protected] and we will be happy to help you. And head over to our Facebook Group: IMG Advisor for an online support network of IMG’s who want to relocate to the UK.


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