Basic Specialist Training

Trainees reviewing notes.

Basic Specialist Training (BST) is the first step towards specialisation in medicine

BST is a hospital-based training programme completed in Senior House Officer (SHO) posts. It prepares you for Higher Specialist Training, which is the final stage of training.

We offer Basic Specialist Training programmes in four specialties:

  • General Internal Medicine
  • Paediatrics
  • Histopathology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Entry to BST is competitive and we manage the national recruitment process every year.

Information regarding non-EU doctors
We are aware of issues regarding access to Specialist Training for non-EU doctors and are working with a wide range of stakeholders, including HSE National Doctor Training and Planning (NDTP)  to expand educational and training opportunities for those doctors who are not currently in training schemes.

RCPI recognises the enormous contribution made by non-EU doctors in Irish hospitals especially at this challenging time. As the largest postgraduate medical training body, RCPI is working with a range of stakeholders, including the Forum for Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies and Medical Council, to address the challenges faced by those doctors who are not in training schemes. This issue was discussed at a recent Council meeting. The College has also held meetings with doctors who are advocating for changes on behalf of this group.

A number of amendments to the Medical Practitioners Act that impact on access to training for some doctors are awaiting enactment.  RCPI has lobbied for the enactment of these amendments many times and most recently (June 2020) RCPI President, Prof Mary Horgan wrote to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly to highlight the urgency of progressing these amendments.

RCPI successfully advocated for an increased number of training positions to be created in Irish hospitals. This summer the HSE announced 80 additional training positions in our Basic Specialist Training programme, which are open to EU and Non-EU doctors working in the Irish health service. We are currently processing these applications.

Access to RCPI specialist training programmes is governed by guidance issued to RCPI by HSE NDTP ( – here are 2 links to that guidance.)

Training bodies are supported and funded by HSE NDTP.