Blogs > Life in the UK / Introduction to the NHS

NHS Service Post v NHS Training Post

  • December 13, 2019

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is one of the largest employers in the world and it is the biggest employer in Europe, with over 1.3 million staff.

A typical day for the NHS includes:

  • Over 835,000 people visiting their GP practice or practice nurse
  • Almost 50,000 people visiting accident and emergency departments
  • 49,000 outpatient consultations
  • 94,000 people admitted to hospital as an emergency admission
  • 36,000 people in hospital for planned treatment

No matter what area of the NHS you join, you will become part of a talented, passionate team of individuals who are committed to providing extraordinary care and treatment to UK patients.

With the NHS being such a busy institution and with over 10,000 vacancies at this present time – it is important for the NHS to possesses both Service Doctors and Training Doctors but we often get asked what the difference is…

An NHS Service Post

An NHS service post (also known as a non-training post) is designed to fill gaps in the department’s rota of training doctors. So, in order to ensure that NHS patients receive continuity of care and excellent quality of care, service posts exist.

The job role of a service doctor is essentially the same as a doctor in training, except the post is not recognised by an NHS Deanery and it is not designed to provide official educational support. That being said, some hospitals do provide international doctors with CESR support to help them get onto the Specialist Register (get in contact with us today to find out which hospitals – [email protected]).

What is an NHS Deanery?

An NHS Deanery is a regional organisation who is responsible for postgraduate medical training, within the NHS.

Each NHS Deanery is advised by a Specialty Training Committee (STC), which includes a number of Consultants who provide their expert opinion. The recruitment of doctors into Specialty Training Programmes are managed by Deaneries. Once you have accepted a training post the Deanery will then allocate specific jobs, arrange educational supervision and provide the assessment of whether you have demonstrated sufficient progress within your training.

What is an NHS Training Post?

If you have secured an NHS training post, your relevant Deanery will provide you with a set curriculum that you will need to follow with regards to updating your e-portfolio, signing off competencies and attending teaching sessions.

You will be allocated an Educational and Clinical Supervisor to provide you with support.

Within a training post, you will be allocated study leave to allow you to study for your postgraduate qualification exams.

As an international doctor – can I apply for a Specialty Training Post?

It is important to note that NHS training posts are extremely competitive. So, to successfully obtain an NHS training post we always advise the following: Obtain a service post for a year or two years, acclimatise yourself with the system and then you will be both physically and mentally prepared and eligible to apply for a training post. Good luck!

Securing an NHS Service Post

If you are an international doctor who has plans to relocate to the UK and join the NHS – email your CV to [email protected] and we will be happy to support you through the entire process. From your GMC Registration, assistance securing a post, relocation logistics to finding schools for your children.

Are you a member of IMG Advisor?

Here, you will find access to frequent relocation blog posts, the opportunity to receive professional guidance on relocating to the UK and the chance to meet other IMGs!

References (2019). NHS Jobs - Working in the NHS. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Apr. 2019]. (2004). The BMJ – What is the difference between a LAT post and a LAS post? [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Apr.2019].


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