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GHF Guidance for Applicants (August 2017)

To view the guide, please expand the relevant chapters. A downloadable copy of this guidance is available in PDF format from the Resource Bank. Applicants are also strongly advised to read the 2017 NHS Medical Specialty Recruitment Applicant Handbook.

The General Practice National Recruitment Office (GPNRO) co-ordinates the nationally agreed and quality assured process for recruitment to GP Specialty Training Programmes. There are three types of General Practice Training Programmes that are recruited to:

  1. Specialty Training (ST1)
  2. Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF)
  3. Global Health Fellowship (GHF)

This guidance deals particularly with Global Health Fellowships (GHF). For information on the other recruitment episodes please see the relevant guide available from GPNRO website.

Recruitment to GHF Training will take place three times a year, twice for August 2017 starts and once for February 2018 starts. Round 1 and Round 1 Re-advert cover August 2017 commencement; Round 2 February 2018 commencement. This guide relates to posts commencing in August 2017.

All submitted applications for GHF will be assessed using a standard, national and consistent staged process outlined below and in parallel with the ST1 clinical recruitment and selection process. A value and behaviour based selection process allows applicants to demonstrate their abilities and suitability for GHF training - applications are assessed by the demonstration of competences as outlined in the GHF Person Specification.

Important: As all Global Health applicants will also need to submit a standard clinical ST1 application, anyone who successfully gains a GHF post will also have been assessed against the criteria contained in the GP ST1 Person Specification.

You should also refer to both the Oriel Applicant User Guide (for technical help with the on-line application form) and the 2017 Medical Specialty Recruitment Applicant Handbook (for general information about the national recruitment processes administered by HEE).

A Global Health Fellowship (GHF) is a 4 year clinical GP training programme with an integrated 12 month out of programme experience (OOPE) opportunity in overseas rural communities. These are available in many HEE Local Offices in England and also in Wales. The OOPE placement is through Africa Health Placements (AHP) between years ST2 and ST3. A further opportunity to undertake a Diploma in Tropical Medicine (TM&H) Course may also be available.

To apply for a GHF post you are required to submit separate applications for the GHF vacancy, as well as the ST1 vacancy. All applications must be made via the on-line Oriel system. Late applications will NOT be considered. The dates and deadlines relating to current recruitment activity are available on GPNRO website.

Once your application has been submitted you are unable to make any changes, apart from to update your own contact and referee details so please ensure that you do not submit unless it is complete.

Please be aware that the Oriel system does not support internet browsers that have reached the end of their product support lifecycle.

Important: To qualify for Global Health fellowship post, applicants must also apply for GP ST1 Specialty Training in the same round and be considered appointable for the August 2017 intake. This means you will go through both the standard GP ST1 recruitment process and GHF recruitment process if you are to successfully gain a GHF post. If at any point an applicant is unsuccessful in the standard GP ST1 recruitment process then they will automatically be deemed unsuccessful in the GHF vacancy, irrespective of GHF assessment outcomes.

If you do not submit an application to ST1 via the National Recruitment process you will be unable to proceed with your application for a Global Health Fellowship.

Important: Applicants who currently hold an NTN in GP are NOT eligible to apply for GHF posts via the national process.

Contact regarding your GHF application will be via direct messaging through Oriel. GP administrators should also send an email as a secondary form of communication. However, as emails are external to the Oriel system, delivery cannot be guaranteed and therefore this method of communication should not be relied upon.

You should also make sure that you are using an email account that you can access at any time and will not be blocked by your employer’s IT security system. If you are uncertain about this, you should check with your IT department at work.

Applicants are allowed to submit ONE application for a GHF training programme. In 2017, at the time of application, you will be asked to indicate your preference of HEE Local Office/Deanery. You will only be allowed to rank one region so please ensure you are comfortable with your choice. GHF Training Programmes are available at ST1 entry level only and are for 4 years duration.

Applicants are also advised to read the HEE Local Office/Deanery profile pages and access individual HEE Local Office/Deanery websites for more information about the opportunities available. We suggest that you research not only the types of programmes offered at each HEE Local Office/Deanery but also the geographical areas covered by each HEE Local Office/Deanery, the main Trusts in each of those areas, transport links to home and so on.

You are not required to indicate your preferred geographies within the HEE Local Office/Deanery at the application stage. There will be a sub-preferencing window after shortlisting has been completed where you will be able to do this.

From 2017, England and Wales have introduced formalised processes to assist applicants to train in desired locations of the country.


6.1 Special Circumstances

To ensure that applicants with special circumstances and a requirement to train in a particular location are treated in a fair and consistent way, those applicants wishing to be considered for special circumstances pre allocation should ensure that they state this on their application form. If this applies to you, you will need to submit supporting evidence directly to GPNRO, by email, as soon as your application has been submitted electronically. Requests for consideration of special circumstances submitted in any other way will not be accepted.

It is important that you review the relevant section in the 2017 Medical Specialty Recruitment Applicant Handbook (pages 20-21) for details on the eligibility criteria and administrative process.


6.2 Facilitated Placements

This process aims to offer solutions to applicants who have been allocated to different regions to their partner or family.

The process is open to all applicants, except for those who are applying to academic posts, locally recruited posts or those looking to move into or out of Northern Ireland, who are not participating in the initiative.

Note: Applicants deferring their commencement in training will not be permitted to apply for a facilitated placement.

It is important that you review the relevant section in the 2017 Medical Specialty Recruitment Applicant Handbook (pages 22-24) for details on the eligibility criteria and administrative process.


6.3 Step On, Step Off (SST) Policy

Deferment to GP ST1 training in the UK is different in each country and is detailed on GPNRO website.

Applicants who wish defer will need to highlight this in their application and will be required to undertake the full selection process. Successful applicants will be able to defer for up to 12 months and will be able to “bank” their accepted GP training programme.

Applicants who will require a Tier 2 Visa to undertake GP training should seek immigration advice to ensure they are eligible for deferment.


6.4 Adjustments under the Equality Act 2010

All HEE Local Offices and Deaneries are aware of the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and in this regard will make reasonable adjustments to accommodate applicants at the assessment and selection centres provided these are made known in advance. Applicants who require adjustments (e.g. wheelchair access, extra time, nursing mothers) must inform their first preference HEE Local Office or Deanery of any special requirements, evidenced by supporting documentation, at the earliest possible opportunity and by no later than the application closing date. Adjustments cannot be guaranteed if contact is made after the specified deadline and no adjustments can be made on the day of the assessment.

In some instances, in order to satisfy requests for adjustments, it may be necessary to schedule an Assessment/Selection Centre place at a specific time or a specific location.

Applicants without right of residence will be able to apply in all rounds of GP recruitment. Applicants without right of residence will not be rejected solely due to their immigration status and, should they be successful, will be considered for an offer in this round. In order for these applicants to be appointed, the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) will need to be satisfied.

It is strongly suggested that you read the 2017 Medical Specialty Recruitment Applicant Handbook, in order to familiarise yourself with the immigration information contained within.


7.1 Tier 4 Visa Applicants

Applicants with a Tier 4 visa, currently in a UK Foundation Programme who have graduated from a UK Medical school without a break between graduation and commencement of Foundation Programme will be eligible for consideration and will not be required to satisfy the Resident Labour Market Test.

All applicants will need to provide evidence of their English language skills at any interview attended in line with the acceptable evidence detailed in the GHF Person Specification.


8.1 Evidence of Communication Skills for Medical Performers’ Lists

Eligibility for entry onto a UK Medical Performers’ List is an essential criterion and therefore, applicants must also ensure their evidence of communication skills complies with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) or Guidance issued by the relevant Primary Care Organisations (PCOs) responsible for maintaining a medical performers’ list in each of the four countries.

PCOs are NHS England in England, Health and Social Services Boards in Northern Ireland, Local Health Boards in Wales, and primary care divisions within area health boards in Scotland.

All applicants to ST1 posts are required to provide evidence of achievement of Foundation Competence within the 3 years prior to the intended commencement date for the advertised post(s). Foundation competency can be demonstrated in any of the following ways:

  • Currently on a Foundation Programme - Applicants currently undertaking a recognised foundation programme in the UK which is due to finish in August 2017, will need to confirm the name of their Foundation School but do not need to submit any other evidence at the point of application. Any offer of a training programme will be conditional upon successful completion of the Foundation Programme and being awarded a Foundation Programme Certificate of Completion (FPCC) before August 2017. Those applying who will require a delayed start date due to illness or maternity, will be permitted to apply and defer in order to allow them to complete their Foundation Programme.

  • Already completed a Foundation Programme - Applicants who have successfully completed the UK Foundation Programme no earlier than 1 January 2014 are required to upload their FACD 5.2 (FPCCs will be issued to Foundation doctors on completion of training from 2017) to their application form, at the time of application submission.

  • Currently on a Specialty Training Programme - Applicants currently in active clinical or clinical and academic practice in a UK educationally approved training post (CT/ST/LAT or equivalent), holding either a National Training Number (NTN) or Deanery Reference Number (DRN) will be considered as having had their foundation competences assessed on entry to their current post and do not need to demonstrate these again, regardless of when foundation competences were signed off.

  • Anybody who is not covered by the above - Applicants who do not fall into any of the above categories will be required to submit a 2017 Alternative Certificate of Foundation Competence signed by a consultant who has supervised them for at least 3 months (whole time equivalent and continuous period) since 1st August 2014. Forms from previous recruitment years will not be accepted.

    In addition, applicants are also required to have 12 months experience after achieving full registration with the GMC, or equivalent medical regulatory body, by the start date for the post they are applying for.


You may submit more than one Alternative Certificate from different posts in order to show evidence of achievement of all outcomes but all certificates must relate to posts undertaken for at least 3 continuous months (whole time equivalent) since 1st August 2014. You should ideally attach scanned copies of the certificate(s) to your application form, however if this is not possible you will have until Friday 28th April 2017 to submit the completed Alternative Certificate.

Please note:

  • This extended period for the submission of the 2017 Alternative Certificate is applicable to GP applicants only.
  • If you are required to satisfy the Resident Labour Market Test you will have until Friday 3rd March 2017 to submit a completed Alternative Certificate

Applicants who fail to provide a 2017 Alternative Certificate at the time of application will not be longlisted out but any subsequent GP offer received will be conditional upon the original document/s being seen by the above date. If you are not able to provide a 2017 Alternative Certificate at the time of submitting your application then you will need to ensure you answer ‘No’ to the question regarding achievement of foundation competences. The system will then ask you to justify why you feel you are exempt. You will be required to provide information justifying why you believe you will have it by the date specified above. It is strongly suggested you complete your application form as early on as possible in the application window if this applies to you.

If you answer yes to any of the Fitness to Practise questions on the application form, you will be required to send information about this declaration to your first preference HEE Local Office or Deanery by the application closing date. Appropriate contact details for Fitness to Practise Declarations can be found in Annex C of the 2017 Medical Specialty Recruitment Applicant Handbook.

Failure to provide this evidence by the application closing date will result in your application not being processed any further in the recruitment round.

Specialty training posts and programmes are not normally available to any doctor who has previously relinquished or been released or removed from that training post/programme. However:


11.1 Support for Reapplication to Specialty

If you have previously resigned or been removed from a GP training programme, you will need to provide full details of the resignation/release/removal. This must be provided on the Support for Reapplication to a Specialty Training Programme form and approved by both the Head of School/Training Programme Director and Postgraduate Dean in the HEE Local Office or Deanery where training was previously undertaken. This evidence will need to be uploaded to your Oriel account via the Document Upload dashboard as Supporting evidence and attached to your application at the point of application.

Any applications from excluded trainees without submitted evidence will not progress any further in the recruitment process.

As you progress through your application it may become apparent that you will be required to upload some form of documentation to allow GPNRO to assess your eligibility.

If you are required to do this, in order to help GPNRO you are required to:

  • Ensure that the document is uploaded as a whole and not in separate pages
  • Ensure that the document is appropriately labelled to allow GPNRO to understand what it is they will be opening
  • Ensure that the document is uploaded in to the correct document section

GPNRO reserve the right to request re-submission of documentation if the above rules are not followed.

All applications will be assessed against the essential criteria outlined in the GHF Person Specification.

Important: As part of the application process applicants are required to self-determine whether they are eligible to:

  1. Work in the Republic of South Africa (RSA)
  2. Register with the HPSCA (RSA Medical Council)

These requirements are set by RSA and therefore beyond the control of the UK Government or GPNRO.

Important: All applicants will also be required to submit a standard clinical application to GP ST1; therefore you will also need to meet the GP ST1 Person Specification.

All eligible applicants (i.e. those who have been assessed as demonstrating evidence of eligibility as outlined above) will be shortlisted by trained assessors against a nationally agreed framework that is designed to review all the essential competences needed to undertake a GHF post. The information provided throughout your whole application form (and in particular the white box/free text questions) is what will be used to conduct shortlisting.

The following areas are assessed during shortlisting:

  • Experience
  • Motivation
  • Aspirations
  • Commitment

Applicants will be required to achieve a minimum score of at least 50% of the total available marks in shortlisting to be invited to attend the next stage of the recruitment and selection process.

On completion of the shortlisting process, applicants that have met the minimum required standard will be considered for a GHF interview in their allocated region.

Applicants will only be invited to attend one GHF interview (i.e. where their first preference is) and will only be considered for appointment in that specific HEE Local Office/Deanery.

Applicants will be notified if they are invited to interview via Oriel and will be able to book their interview place using the on-line Oriel system. It is important to note that interview slots are booked on a first come, first served basis.

If you are invited to attend an interview you will be asked to make more detailed programme and geographical preferences (referred to as sub-preferences). These sub-preferences will need to be made on the Oriel System and your stated sub-preferences will be used when offers are made. Please be aware that sub-preferences expressed in any other way will not be taken into consideration.

If you place any of the sub-preference options in the not wanted box, you will never receive an offer for these rotations/programmes, even if this means that you are bypassed in the offers process and a lower ranked applicant is made an offer instead of you. GPNRO therefore advise that you should only move sub preferences to the not wanted box if you are certain that you would not want to receive an offer from them.

If you fail to express your sub preferences online and you are made an offer, you should expect that the offer made will be for one of the least popular rotations in the allocated region. You will also not be eligible for an upgrade as there will be no higher preference rotation that you could be upgraded into.

Information regarding these further preferences will be published on individual HEE Local Office/Deanery web sites. GPNRO does not have any involvement in this process. Any queries relating to this should be sent to the employing region.

On the day of the GHF Interview, please ensure that you allow yourself plenty of time to get to the venue to allow for applicant registration and evaluation of essential entry criteria, e.g. documented proof of identity, immigration status, confirmation of award of medical degree, foundation competences etc.

If you are booked to attend GHF Interview and are unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances or an emergency, you must contact the organising HEE Local Office/Deanery directly to ascertain whether alternative arrangements can be made. Alternative arrangements cannot be guaranteed.

Applicants should note that children are not permitted at the GHF Interview venue.

Important: On arrival at Interview if you find you have a conflict of interest with a panel member, for example you are already familiar with them and you are not comfortable in being interviewed by them; it is your responsibility to inform a member of the recruitment team at your earliest opportunity so that alternative arrangements can be made, such as being interviewed by a neutral panel member.

17.1 Dress Code

Conventionally in the UK, formal professional practice between doctors and patients is appropriately marked by a certain formality of dress. The same dress code will apply for selection centre as it does for day to day clinical practice/contact with patients; this means that forms of dress should not constrain the applicants’ ability to demonstrate recognised skills. All doctors should ensure their appearance does not impede their professional roles and responsibilities; including communication with patients, relatives, carers and other staff. Inappropriately revealing styles such as low-cut necklines and mini-skirts, dangling jewellery/accessories should be avoided. Equally, forms of dress that cover the face will normally be deemed inappropriate in such consultations.

17.2 GHF Interview Format

At the GHF Interview each applicant will have a number of opportunities to demonstrate some of the competences outlined in the GHF Person Specification. Each of these competences will be assessed more than once in a number of exercises which are observed and assessed by trained assessors.

The competences that are assessed at the GHF Interview are:

  • Leadership
  • Decision Making
  • Self-Development
  • Resilience

Please refer to the GHF Person Specification for more information about these.

You are required to give details of your last three clinical or educational supervisors from your current post, your previous post and the post before that. You will be able to amend referee details on Oriel up until the point the reference has been submitted.

Referees are required to submit references electronically, using an on-line referee portal in Oriel, once offers have been released. You will be advised, via your Oriel portal, when your referee has submitted their reference.

All offers made will be on the condition of the HEE Local Office or Deanery receiving three satisfactory references. Obtaining references is an applicant’s responsibility. The HEE Local Office or Deanery will NOT chase your referees.

In rare cases there may be a need for your reference to be provided on paper. We will instruct you if this is necessary. You can download a Structured National Reference Form from the Oriel Resource Bank.

All offers will be made via Oriel by GPNRO. Offers received in any other way will be deemed invalid. If you are made an offer, you will need to respond to this on Oriel.

Applicants will be ranked in a HEE Local Office/Deanery specific list based on their performance throughout the selection process (i.e. you will only be competing against other applicants who applied to the same region as you).

Initial offers will be released by close of business on the first offer date published for the current round (see the GPNRO website). Please do not contact GPNRO about offers prior to this date, as it could delay the release.

You will be given 48 hours (exclusive of weekends) to respond to an offer and have the option to accept, decline or hold. Only one offer can be held at any one time, across all specialty applications in a round (i.e. you cannot hold an ST1 and GHF offer at the same time). If you fail to respond to an offer within the 48 hour window you will be deemed to have declined the offer.

If you are holding an offer and try to hold another, the original held post will be automatically declined by the system.

Once you have accepted a post, you will not receive any further offers from any other specialty in this round (i.e. it will withdraw you from all other applications you have in the recruitment round).

Offers that are declined will be reoffered in rank order to other applicants.

If you choose to hold an offer, you can keep this offer held up until the hold deadline published for the current round (see the GPNRO website). Before this deadline, you will be required to go back into Oriel and make a final decision on the offer. Any offers still held when the deadline is reached will be deemed to have been declined and the system will automatically change your status to show that you have declined the post.

After the hold deadline has passed, any offers made will only have the option of accept or decline.

Please note: Applicants whose immigration status would require an employer to obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship can only be made an offer if there are no remaining suitable UK/EEA applicants.

If you rank highly enough to be made an offer, this will be made to the highest ranked Training Programme preference that is available when your interview rank is reached. If this Training Programme offer is suitable for you and you do not want to be considered for any other preferences you have ranked higher, you can choose to simply accept it.

However, applicants do have the option of getting one of their higher ranked GHF Training programme preferences, should they become available, by opting into upgrading. The upgrading option is available to all offers that have been held or accepted, but not where an offer has been declined. An applicant who has accepted or held an offer can opt in or out of upgrading at any time during the window which runs until the upgrade deadline published for the current round (see the GPNRO website).

If you opt into upgrading and a higher preferenced offer becomes available, the upgrade will be automatic. You will be placed in the higher preferenced post without GPNRO making any further contact with you and you will not be given 48 hours to decide whether you wish to accept or decline the new post. If an upgrade is made, the previously held or accepted post will be released and will be reoffered to another applicant.

Once you have been upgraded you will be sent an automated message through Oriel to inform you of this. Details of the upgrade made will be available in the relevant section on Oriel.

Once the upgrading deadline has passed, no further upgrades will be offered, even if one of your higher preferenced GP Training Programme becomes available at a later date.

Clearing will be available to applicants who were deemed appointable at interview but who have not been made an offer. It will not include applicants who have been made an offer that they chose to decline.

If you are eligible, you will be asked to preference the clearing posts. ST1 clearing posts and offers will not be subject to a further interview.

Offers made in clearing can only be accepted or declined. They cannot be held or upgraded (as the national deadlines will have passed), even if a higher preferenced post becomes available at a later date.

You will only receive a maximum of one offer in clearing. If this offer is declined you will not receive any further offers.

Applicants will be given feedback throughout the recruitment process and will not need to make a formal request to receive it.

Applicants that are rejected at the longlisting stage will be advised of the reason why their application was rejected; Applicants that are rejected following shortlisting will be advised of their total scores, the maximum scores available and the scores needed to be invited to interview; Interview feedback will be released up to seven days after the initial offer date.

Applicants who wish to request feedback above and beyond the standard feedback that is provided (i.e. their actual scoresheets) can do so by making a request to their interviewing region, not GPNRO. Please ensure you contact the region where you were interviewed directly and explain in the email that you wish to receive anonymised scoresheets.

GPNRO expect the scoresheets to be released to applicants within 20 working days however applicants must understand that in busy periods this could take longer to receive.

There is no further feedback that can be provided after scoresheets have been requested.

Any vacancies that are left unfilled at the end of this process will be re-advertised in a subsequent national process.

The offer and allocation of a Training Programme referred to above is NOT an offer of employment. An employment contract detailing the terms and conditions of employment will be issued by the responsible employing organisation and is made subject to satisfactory pre-employment checks. Your offer of employment will include the name of your employer, the start date and length of the period of employment, the location, the hours, the minimum rate of remuneration and the notice period applicable.

Information regarding pay, hours, sick pay and annual leave entitlements, notice period, study leave, pension scheme etc. are set out in the national terms and conditions available from NHS Employers. A framework for a written contract of employment for GP specialty registrars is also available from the BMA. Individual HEE Local Office/Deanery websites may also provide additional local information and links to individual employer websites.

The employing organisation carry out a number of pre-employment checks before an offer of employment can be confirmed. These will include verification of identity, registration and qualifications, right to work (immigration), employment history and employment reference checks (these are different from the clinical reference checks that the HEE Local Office/Deanery needs), a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and an occupational health check. Some of these (verification of identify, registration and qualifications and right to work for example) may also be undertaken by the HEE Local Office/Deanery during the recruitment process.

Any claims for expenses incurred in travelling to a Selection Centre should be made to the region that interviewed you, not the GPNRO.

Please contact the organising HEE Local Office/Deanery for further guidance on their expenses policy.