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Health Education Thames Valley Recruitment 2016 FAQ s

Click on the link for the answer to each question.

When will recruitment for 2016 begin?

Recruitment to Specialty Training Programmes for 2016 will begin on 11 November 2015 and the vast majority of specialty recruitment processes will be nationally led. Recruitment in 2016 will be one continuous episode which will have specific cut off dates for each level of entry. Each specialty recruitment process will fall within the following nationally defined timescale:

Round One Appointments – CT1/ST1 and Run-Through Vacancies (For August – December 2016 starts)

Adverts – 05 November 2015

Application Period – 11 November 2015 – 03 December 2015

Interview Window – 04 January 2016 – 09 March 2016

Initial Offers – By 10 March 2016

Hold Deadline – 1pm on 17 March 2016

Round One Appointments – CT1/ST1 and Run-Through Re-Adverts

Adverts – 10 March 2016

Application Period – 22 March 2016 – 07 April 2016

Interview Window – 19 April 2016 – 18 May 2016

Initial Offers – By 19 May 2016

Hold Deadline – 25 May 2016

Round Two Appointments – ST3+ Appointments (For August – December 2016 starts)

Adverts – 10 February 2016

Application Period – 16 February 2016 – 09 March 2016

Interview Window – 21 March 2016 – 01 May 2016

Initial Offers – By 12 May 2016

Hold Deadline – 18 May 2016

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What is the Unit of Application ( UoA )?

The Unit of Application will be Health Education Thames Valley.  This covers the counties of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, with Banbury and Milton Keynes in the North, to Reading and Slough in Berkshire and High Wycombe and Aylesbury in the West. 

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What is the difference between national and local recruitment?

National processes are being coordinated by particular Royal Colleges, sometimes in partnership with a lead LETB .  For full details of whether the specialty in which you are interested in applying for is participating in local or national recruitment please see the main recruitment page where details will be uploaded as soon as they are available.

A nationally coordinated application process means that you only need to submit one application per specialty, giving your preferences about where (that is in which LETB or LETBs ) you would like to train.

A locally coordinated application process means that you will have to submit one application to each LETB that you wish to apply to. Health Education Thames Valley will publish all local vacancies on the Oriel Recruitment system.

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Can I apply for more than one speciality and for other LETBs ?

Candidates can potentially apply for as many posts and/or specialties as they wish, however national recruitment programmes will have different restrictions on preferences and ranking options. Candidates are advised to refer to specialty specific information for exact details.

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Where will jobs be advertised?

All jobs will be advertised on the recruitment pages of the Health Education Thames Valley’s website and on NHS jobs for a minimum period of 28 days.

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Are person specifications different for each LETB ?

Person specifications are national documents provided by Health Education England.  Person specifications describe the knowledge, skills, and attributes that are required in order for a candidate to be successful in their application to a programme or training scheme.  Person specifications are broken down into “essential” and “desirable” attributes and it will be stated where the information will be extracted from i.e. interview or application.  All person specifications are available from the Specialty Training website.

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What is the timescale for applications?

The window for applications opens on 11 November 2015 and will continue throughout 2015/16 for Health Education Thames Valley locally recruited posts. Different specialities will have different opening and closing dates for applicants so please ensure you check the relevant College or LETB website. Local recruitment will shut at 12:00 midday on the listed closing date.

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What do 'Core Training' and 'Specialty Training' refer to? What is the difference between them?

Core training is a term frequently used to describe the early years of specialty training, usually the first two years before moving onto specialty training.

Core training with the terminology CT1 , CT2 (and CT3 for Psychiatry and ACCS ) refers to one of the following approved training programmes:-

  • Acute Care Common Stem
  • Core Medical Training
  • Core Psychiatry Training
  • Core Surgical Training
  • Core Anaesthetics Training


These specialties remain uncoupled for 2016.  If you are offered core training in a specialty this does not guarantee progression through to CCT .  There will be another round of recruitment at the end of core training.

For those specialties offering run-through training, the early years of specialty training are denoted as ST1 , ST2 (and ST3 in Paediatrics).

Higher training programmes start from ST3 level and run until the achievement of CCT.

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What is the process for applications? Will they be online?

If you are applying for a nationally led specialty you will need to apply directly to the LETB/College co-ordinating the recruitment for that specialty.

For specialties undertaking local recruitment, Health Education Thames Valley will be using Oriel.  This is an on-line application portal designed for applicants to submit applications to specialty training programmes.

You will be required to register with the site before completing the application form. The site has been 'live' since September 2014 although you will not be able to complete your application until the opening date. This system is being used by all organisations for their recruitment and you will only be required to register on the system once regardless of which LETBs and specialties you are applying for.

The application form has two main sections, the first of which records personal details about you (for monitoring purposes) and will not be made available to the shortlisters and interviewers. The main body of the form will provide an opportunity for candidates to detail their experience, competence and strengths. Before completing your application you must make sure that you are aware of the deadline for applications and familiarise yourself with the person specification for the job/training post as this will assist you with answering questions in a focused manner.  Application forms must be error free as they cannot be changed once they have been submitted. 

If you have queries regarding a nationally led specialty you should contact the co-ordinating LETB/College in the first instance. If your query is not dealt with then contact Health Education Thames Valley.

Any evidence of plagiarism or fraudulent statements will be referred directly to the Postgraduate Dean and the General Medical Council (GMC).

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How many vacancies are there likely to be?

A list of the current vacancies by specialty and levels are available on the Specialty Training Recruitment 2016 section of this website.

The number of posts quoted in each specialty is indicative and may be subject to change.

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I want to apply for an Academic Clinical Fellow ( ACF ) or Clinical Lecturer ( CL ) Post. When will these be advertised?

ACF and CL posts will be recruited to locally by each LETB with coordination by the National Institute for Health Research ( NIHR ).  The national timeframe and the list of specialties to which Thames Valley is recruiting can be found on the Academic Recruitment Pages.

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How will I know if I am eligible to apply?

Eligibility will be determined by your status on the closing date for the receipt of applications.

Eligibility criteria cover such things as immigration status, GMC or GDC registration, English language skills as appropriate and any examination requirements in line with the essential criteria for the post.

Details of eligibility criteria for each specialty can be found on the specialty person specifications on the Specialty Training website.

Details of current immigration rules and how they affect junior doctors can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website and the GMC website.

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How will I know that my application has been received?

When the application is submitted the electronic system will confirm submission via email and via your online account.

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What if I miss the deadline?

Late applications will not be accepted by the online recruitment system. Please ensure you leave yourself plenty of time to submit your application and be aware that there may be a slight difference in time between your watch or PC and the Oriel system.  If you miss a deadline do not send or email your applications to Health Education Thames Valley as they will not be accepted.

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What if I experience technical problems?

If for some reason you experience technical difficulties in submitting your application, you must contact the Health Education Thames Valley Recruitment Team or relevant coordinating LETB /College immediately.  Technical problems sometimes take time to rectify and you may not be the only one experiencing a problem.  Health Education Thames Valley will work with the service providers to solve any technical issues before the deadline of an application has expired.  Please note that Health Education Thames Valley can only guarantee a response to emails or phone calls within office hours, 08:30 – 16:30.

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How will I know if I have been offered an interview?

Candidates will be invited to interview via email.

We will endeavour to give applicants at least five working days' notice of any interview. However some applicants may be given shorter notice if late gaps arise due to drop outs. Applicants will be informed of the reason for their late notice if this occurs.

For local recruitment Health Education Thames Valley will use Oriel to invite candidates to interview and to book their own interview slot. When candidates log onto the Oriel system they will be able to see if they have a new message.

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What are the interview dates?

Shortlisting and interview dates are published on our website via each application portal; please refer to the Specialty Recruitment 2016 pages and select the relevant specialty.

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What documents do I need to bring to interview?

Please see the What to Bring To Interview webpage for more information.

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If you offer me a job, how long will I have to decide about it?

Health Education England guidance currently gives candidates 48 hours, excluding weekends and bank holidays, to respond to an offer of a training post.  All offers will include details of deadlines for acceptance. If you accept an offer you must withdraw from any further participation in the recruitment process at that level.

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When will I know which Trust I will be working in?

When accepting a post all candidates are advised that they should expect to work across the Thames Valley region and that placements within different trusts may be geographically distant. Each specialty training programme rotates in a slightly different way, similarly allocation to a rotation will be different in each specialty.  Depending on the specialty you have applied for, you will either be asked to submit your preferences via the Oriel system in advance of your interview, or once you have accepted a post with Health Education Thames Valley.

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Can I claim travel and subsistence expenses?

Candidates are often able to claim travel expenses but are strongly advised to read the travel and subsistence guidelines prior to booking transport or accommodation.  Please note that you should not make travel arrangements before consulting the guidance as you will not be reimbursed if the guidance is not followed. Each  LETB  will operate slightly different policies and procedures so you should not assume that all expenses will be reimbursed automatically.  Health Education Thames Valley requires that all flights and overnight stays are authorised in advance, this is very likely to be the case with many other LETBs . Please read the interview expenses policy for further details. 

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How can I contact Health Education Thames Valley?

You can contact Health Education Thames Valley by e-mail at , or telephone on 01865 785500. Please note that if your query is about dates of recruitment, number of posts, or interviews you will be directed back to the recruitment website.

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How will non- EEA applicants be affected?

Some applicants may be considered before others on the basis of immigration status, in accordance with guidance from HEE and the UK Visas and Immigration Service.

If you require Tier 2 Sponsorship in order to take up the offer of a place on a training programme and you are subject to the Resident Labour Market Test, you will only be offered a position if there are no suitable UK / EEA (or equivalent) applicants available.

If shortlisted, applicants will be required to produce their original documents (passports, page with the stamp and letter from the Home Office) on the day of their interview.

The immigration statement issued by the Department of Health for specialty recruitment 2016 can be read on the Health Education Thames Valley immigration statement page.

Applicants should refer to UK Visas & Immigration service website for up to date information regarding the right to work in the UK .

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Can I change my interview date/time?

Health Education Thames Valley is unable to change the date and time of interviews, except in very exceptional circumstances.

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Can I get feedback on my application?

Feedback will be available for all stages of the recruitment process. Before submitting your requests please refer to the guidance from the specialty to which you are applying as Health Education Thames Valley will automatically adhere to national guidelines where they exist. 

For further information please refer to  the Health Education Thames Valley Recruitment Feedback page.

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Who is eligible for the Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS)?

Health Education Thames Valley is committed to ensuring equal opportunities for applicants with disabilities.  If you have a disability and are covered by the Disability Discrimination Act, (details are available from the Directgov website), you have the option to be considered under the GIS . There will be an option for you to indicate that you would like to be considered under the scheme on your application form.  If you indicate that you would like to be considered under the scheme, provided that you meet the minimum criteria at application and selection testing stages, you will be automatically invited to interview.

You will be contacted by a member of staff to ascertain as to whether you require any adjustments at the interview stage.  Please consider any adjustments that may be necessary based on the information available about the interview process.

Please note: If you indicate that you would like to be considered under the GIS but do not specify that you have a disability in your application form you cannot be considered under the scheme.

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I've previously been removed from or resigned from a training programme, can I still apply?

Applicants reapplying for training in a specialty that they have previously resigned or been removed from will need the support of their previous Head of School/Programme Director and Postgraduate Dean in order to reapply.

Applicants must ask their previous LETB/Deanery, Head of School/Programme Director and Postgraduate Dean to complete a Support for Reapplication to a Specialty Training Programme Form, available to download from the Oriel Resource Bank.

Applications will not be considered without a fully completed and signed form, which must be submitted at the time of application.

Applicatns requiring this support are advised to start the process early.

Applicants currently working in a specialty who are applying to continue training in the same specialty in another region, without a break in service do not need support for their application.

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I need to declare a fitness to practice ( FTP ) issue, who do I need to contact?


If you are or have been subject to any of the following, you must declare these at the time of application:

  • a criminal conviction or caution  
  • a GMC investigation, proceedings or restrictions
  • employment disciplinary investigation or judgements


It is essential that you submit this information at the time of application. Failure to provide this information at the time of application could result in your application being withdrawn, and you being reported to any relevant bodies/organisations.

Please declare these issues on your application and email the details to the lead recruiter

For posts where Health Education Thames Valley is the lead please email: and include:

  • The specialty and level applied to
  • Applicant full name
  • Application ID
  • An outline of the events leading to the Fitness to Practise issue
  • The date/s of the event/s
  • A reflection on the event and the outcome of any investigation/action

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How does longlisting work?

Longlisting is the first stage of selection that your submitted application will go through.  Longlisting is the process by which applicants who do not meet the basic requirements as per the person specification are taken out of the cohort. 

It is essential that you fill in all details on your application correctly including your GMC status and any details about your right to work in the UK

If you complete your application incorrectly it cannot be changed after submission and you may be unnecessarily excluded from shortlisting. 

It is your responsibility to ensure that your application is correct at the time of submission.

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How does shortlisting work?

Shortlisting takes place after longlisting and before interview, however not all specialties will undertake this process.

For local recruitment each application form will be reviewed by at least two clinicians in the relevant specialty.  Once the forms are scored the Programme Director and Programme Manager will review the anonymised scores and agree a shortlist.  The outcome of the shortlisting process will be displayed on the Oriel system.  It is the candidates’ responsibility to refer to the online systems and check their emails regularly.  Interviews can be booked through Oriel.

Please do not contact Health Education Thames Valley for shortlisting results as they will only be released via the Oriel system.

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What do I have to do to withdraw from the process?

Candidates are entitled to withdraw their application at any stage of the process. You must inform the LETB to which you have applied immediately in order that your application is not submitted to the next stage of selection.

If you reject an off of a post you must inform the LETB /Royal College/ NRO that you are rejecting the offer. If we do not hear from you within the 48 hour deadline the offer will be withdrawn.

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Can I apply for flexible training?

Please refer to our policy on flexible and less than full time training.

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If I accept a post can I defer my entry?

Under the Gold Guide rules, candidates will only be able to defer entry for statutory reasons such as maternity/paternity leave, sick leave, jury service and a few others. Successful candidates are no longer eligible for deferral if they are already registered on a higher degree programme.  If this is the case they should apply in the round of recruitment for which they will be eligible to commence training. 

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How will offers be made for 2016?

All offers made in 2016 will be done so via the Oriel System. This will allow applicants to receive all training offers electronically on a single system. The co-ordination of offers across all specialties will allow candidates to accept, reject or hold an offer. Candidates will also be able to upgrade certain offers if the option is available.

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What is the Oriel System?

Oriel is of one the initiatives of the Medical and Dental Recruitment and Selection (MDRS) programme.  It includes the design and, now ongoing implementation, of a UK-wide recruitment system for postgraduate specialty medical, dental and public health training.  From December 2014 onwards, healthcare scientists will also be recruited through the system.  The Oriel team within Health Education England (HEE) continues to work with trainees, the devolved nations and wider stakeholders to produce a unified system and solution.

After a successful pilot with over 3000 trainees in February 2014, Oriel was launched on 1 September 2014, enabling applicants to register, view vacancies, apply, schedule and manage interviews within just one online portal. Since December 2014, applicants have also been able to receive offers from the system and the online reference portal allows for easy completion of applicants' references. As the previous recruitment phases relied on over twenty systems across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Oriel has brought about a major improvement in efficiency and consistency throughout the UK, using a centralised one-stop shop system with an improved user interface and recruitment journey for applicants. It was the preferred choice of the British Medical Association (BMA) and BMA Junior Doctors Committee (BMA JDC), General Medical Council (GMC), the General Dental Council (GDC) and HEE.

Now it is live, it is expected that Oriel will further improve access to careers and recruitment information, decrease the time trainees spend on submitting applications, and decrease administration time to process applications and recruitment. Some of the new developments include improved security, compatibility for tablet and mobile devices, interactive FAQs, standardisation of emails and communications and the introduction of a single reporting mechanism. The system is expected to further embed the open, fair and effective processes for recruitment, selection and appointment by enabling all applicants and administrators to use the same solution.

The system has been implemented through a staged approach across 2013 to 2015 to ensure that all checks were in place and the system was ready to be used before it went live for each recruitment round.

Further information on Oriel and how to apply for each round can be found on the Oriel website.

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