Switching to GP Training

Switching Specialty & Retraining

Changes in the NHS over recent years, (outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan) especially in light of the pandemic, means that the focus is increasingly on population health, primary and community care services. So it may not come as a great surprise to learn that we’re receiving many more applications from trainees in other specialties, trust grade doctors and consultants, who want to build on their skills and experience, learn to adapt and become a GP. 

You may have reached the stage in your career you like the thought of not just concentrating on one pathology - where you can get to know your patients personally, people refer to you as ‘my doctor’, look beyond illness to lifestyle and want to maximise the balance of variety and specialisation. The RCGP points out that the role includes diagnosing a wide range of undifferentiated health problems, treating illness in community and home settings, responding to risk safely and effectively, managing long-term conditions and co-ordinating care with a range of carers, specialists, providers and other professionals. 

Your questions answered

We understand that it is not so easy to find information when you have moved on from the normal training cycle so we have provided answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) and some examples from people who made the change.

You will find a range of useful information in the applicant guidance and recruitment round dates on the Recruitment section of the website. All applicants will need to apply through the Oriel recruitment portal. There are typically two application rounds a year. The second round advertises any remaining vacancies for an August training start. 

You will need to tick the relevant box (ATC or CCT(CP)) in the training application process on Oriel if you would like any relevant previous experience to be considered.

Good news is there’s no cap on the age you can apply for GP specialty training - which would be unlawful. In fact life and your previous experience is likely to be a bonus in practice.

How you get back into training when you’re possibly some years away from a ‘hands on’ medical role is inevitably not going to be quite as straight forward but don’t let that put you off. Its best to get in touch with us and discuss your circumstances, either by reaching out to your local office/Deanery or emailing the GPNRO applications team for advice. We can work with you to find out what options might be best suited to you and help satisfy the GP specialty training criteria outlined in the Applicant Guidance . Take the current F2 standalone scheme, as an example which will be a good option for some to gain experience and achieve foundation competences.

If you have a current National Training Number (NTN), have completed at least a year (whole time equivalent) in a GMC approved specialty training programme and progressed satisfactorily, it may be possible to combine some of the capabilities you have already achieved with your GP training. Combined Training usually allows 6 months of previous relevant training to contribute, for you to follow the Accreditation of Transferable Capabilities (ATC) pathway.

Specific eligibility criteria apply so if you are interested in this pathway, you can find more information on the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) website.

ATC programmes cannot be applied for retrospectively so you must tick the relevant box during your application for GP training to trigger the full application process.

Combined Training has a CCT (Combined Programme [CP]) pathway for doctors who wish to combine part of the CCT programme with posts held earlier in their career which were not approved for general practice training. These may be formal training posts or substantive paid roles.

To apply for a CCT(CP), you must tick the box during your application for GP training to trigger the full application process. It may be possible for up to 12 months of your experience to contribute. More information can be found on the RCGP website.

This is possible in some regions of the UK but not all. It is recommended that you check first on the Recruitment Leads & Programme Details section of the website.

You will need to contact NHS Employers for advice or look at their FAQs.The latest terms and conditions are on the NHS Employers website. Pay protection is covered on pages 17 - 19 section 48 – 61. Point 58 outlines ‘Pay protection on re-entering training from a career grade.’

Anyone with continuous service in a career grade post or posts for at least 13 months immediately prior to re-entering training will be eligible for pay protection for as long as it is more favourable.

Once you have received advice from NHS Employers, it may be helpful to discuss options with your local Deanery.

Last updated May 2022

Switching to GP training - Case Studies

Dr Luke Banbury
GP ST2 Northumbria previously Acute Medicine CT3 and Core Anaesthetics CT2
Dr Lucy Obolensky
Locum GP & ED staff grade, Associate Professor Global Health & Remote Medicine, previously Orthopaedic & EM registrar
Prof Dame Helen Stokes-Lampard
GP Partner Staffordshire and Chair of AoMRC, previously worked in Obs & Gynae
Dr Owen Carter
GP Partner in London, previously Adult Neurology
Dr Johnathan Cobb
Senior Partner in Yorkshire, previously ITU Registrar
Dr Chris Lutterodt
GP ST3 Surrey, previously Core Surgery


Dr Sarah Hillman
GP ST4 Coventry and Warwickshire, previously Academic Obstetrician
Dr Keith Gomes Pinto
GPST3 FMLM Medical Fellow, Data, Insights and Statistics Directorate NHS Digital, previously General Surgery
Dr Amina Al-Yassin
Dr Amina Al-Yassin, GP Registrar, London, previously a Paediatric trainee
Dr Pritti Aggarwal
GP flexi partner in Southampton, previously general surgery

Dr Murad Khan
GP in Yorkshire, previously an A&E and Cardiology doctor
Dr Elizabeth Meredith
GP in Hampshire, previously a Rheumatology Registrar
Dr Radhika Mistry
GP in West Midlands, previously a Gastroenterology Registrar
Dr Youssef Beaini
From the series GP behind closed doors, previously a cardiology doctor
Dr Judy Jackson
GP in London, previously a Consultant Psychiatrist
Dr Faraz Anjum
GP in Leicester, previously an Anaesthetics Registrar

Dr Yvonne Girgishanna
GP in Cambridge, previously a Renal Registrar
Dr Richard Carter
GP in South Yorkshire, previously an SpR in Respiratory & General Medicine
Dr Raghuram Shivram
GP Partner in Leicester, previously a Child & Adolescent Consultant Psychiatrist
  • Email gprecruitment@hee.nhs.uk if you want to talk to newly qualified or experienced GPs, trainees and trainers in your area with similar interests.