ISTP: application process
Your journey is just as important as your destination.
A note about timescales.
Our application and assessment process is rigorous and may take up to 6 months. These timescales are heavily dependent upon a number of factors, which include how quickly you are able to submit all of your supporting documents with your application.
We will only assess applications that are complete with all of the required supporting documents.
If you are offered a place on our programme and you accept the offer, we will aim to match and place you with a UK Trust within 12 months of your acceptance.
You should not make any plans to travel to the UK until your placement has been confirmed in writing and your registration with the General Medical Council (GMC) has been approved.
The journey & process.
If you are interested in joining ISTP, you will first need to register online and answer a series of questions, which we will use to check whether you are eligible for the programme.
Please refer to the ISTP Eligibility Criteria for more information and guidance on this.
If you are assessed as eligible, you will be invited to submit a full application via our online application system.
In our experience, the task of gathering all of the documents that you need to submit with your application takes the most time.
Here is a quick re-cap:
- Work through the ISTP Supporting Documents Checklist
- If you have not had your PMQ and PGMQ independently verified by the ECFMG, start this process straight away;
- Check that your IELTS or OET test score is valid (i.e. within date) and that you have achieved the required individual and overall score.
Your application and supporting documents must be submitted via our online application system.
All communications between you and our team should take place within our system.
Your application will be reviewed by our team and assessed to make sure that it is complete and meets our criteria.
During this process, we may seek further clarification or information from you.
An important aspect of our assessment process is the detail and quality of the statement section of your application. You must clearly set out how an ISTP placement will benefit (a) you and your professional development; (b) your home country/ hospital/ surgical colleagues; and (c) your patients.
It is also important to remember that the ISTP is a competitive programme.
There are a limited number of NHS posts available and therefore your application will be assessed, scored and ranked against a cohort of applications that we receive.
At this stage, a decision will be made as to whether your application has been scored or ranked sufficiently to be shortlisted for the interview stage.
We will contact you and let you know whether your application has been shortlisted for interview.
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview. This will normally be conducted via video conference/ Zoom.
The interview panel will be made up of our Specialty Clinical Leads and other experts as required.
The panel will assess you in following three areas:
- Communication skills
- Clinical knowledge
- Knowledge of the NHS
We will contact you and let you know the outcome of the interview stage.
Successful candidates will be offered a place on the ISTP and will need to complete some additional paperwork.
The ISTP Registration Fee of £100 must be paid at this stage.
Once you have been accepted onto the programme, we will begin to identify potential placements and vacancies at suitable hospitals, Trusts and Health Boards that meet your training needs and objectives.
We aim to place candidates into posts within 12 months of your acceptance onto the programme, but this will be heavily dependent upon the availability of suitable posts and vacancies.
The matching and placement process will involve further interviews with recruiting hospitals and Trusts.
A 'match' is made when you receive a written offer from the hospital/ Trust and you accept the offer in writing.
Once an appointment is made, the ISTP team will work with you and the recruiting trust to arrange all documentation required for GMC registration and the supporting Tier 5 visa (if applicable).
Once your appointment has been confirmed, we will send you guidance and instructions to commence your application for registration with the General Medical Council (GMC).
Once you have submitted your application for registration, you will receive an email from the GMC setting out the documents that must be submitted as part of the registration process.
This email should be forwarded to us and we will submit the documents required. We will also monitor and respond to GMC requests for further information or supporting evidence as required.
If the GMC considers everything to be in order, you will be accepted onto the register pending and identity (ID) check.
You will be required to inform us of the date and time of your ID check.
Once your post has been approved by your local Health Education England (HEE) regional office (Deanery) and GMC registration has been obtained, we will initiate the process to obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for the Tier 5 visa that you will need in order to travel to the UK and take up your placement.
We will liaise with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC), sending them the necessary documents for the Tier 5 CoS.
The AoMRC generates the CoS and sends it to us. We in turn will forward the CoS to you with instructions to begin your application for your tier 5 visa.
It normally takes approximately three months from appointment being made, to a trainee arriving into the UK.
Flights should not be booked until all GMC registration and visa documentation has been finalised.
Trainees are required to attend a GMC ID check in the London or Manchester office upon arrival to the UK.
You will also need to undergo an Occupational Health test with the employing trust before you will be cleared to start work.
Trainees will be invited to attend an initial induction meeting with their ISTP Officer where we will help you set up your account with the UK curriculum (Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme). We will also arrange affiliate membership for you, and help you with any questions that you may have in advance of starting your placement.
Formal induction sessions / webinars are held throughout the year and you will be invited to attend a session once you have settled into your post.
ISTP trainees are required to agree a personal development plan / learning agreement with their Educational Supervisor within one month of arrival.
ISTP trainees are required to engage with the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme (ISCP) which contains your e-portfolio and logbook.
In addition to this, trainees must attend an Annual Review Meeting (ARM) held by the RCS. This is to ensure that you are progressing in your training and achieving your objectives.
Trainees should aim to complete a minimum of 20 Workplace Based Assessments (WBA’s) per year and participate in at least one audit per year.
The RCS also encourages trainees to consider sitting the FRCS (if applicable) and engaging in research throughout their time in the UK.
Interim feedback forms will be circulated to you and your Assigned Educational Supervisor throughout your placement.
Any issues regarding your placement should be raised with your ISTP Officer at the earliest opportunity.
The ISTP team will circulate a final feedback form to you and your Educational Supervisor approximately three weeks before the end date of your placement.
Once feedback forms have been received, your Certificate of Completion will be dispatched.
All ISTP placement fees must be paid in full before the certificate can be issued.