Additional places on RCPI Basic Specialist Training programmes

80 additional places on our Basic Specialist Training programme

The approval of 80 additional Basic Specialist Training places in Ireland was announced by the HSE on 24 June 2020. This is a very welcome development - we have been working closely with the HSE to get these additional specialist training opportunities approved. The additional places are open to EU and non-EU doctors.

The application process for recruiting doctors into these new places on our Basic Specialist Training programmes is underway - see an outline of the different stages of the application process below. Eligible doctors had until 31 July 2020 to register their interest.

What is on offer?

This is an opportunity for eligible doctors to join our Basic Specialist Training (BST) programme in one of three specialties:

The application process is competitive. If you are successful, your SHO posts will be approved for BST from July 2020. You will undertake BST the same as any other doctor on the programme. The only difference is the recruitment timeline.

If you are admitted onto the BST programme you are making a commitment to the full duration of this training opportunity.

In addition to supervised clinical training in your hospital, you will need to complete exams and courses designed to help you to develop professionally and acquire the skills and knowledge needed to provide excellent patient care.

Click on the specialties listed above to read more about each BST programme.

Who can apply?

To be eligible for one of these additional places in BST you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have secured a post in a recognised clinical site in the relevant specialty with the HSE for July 2020. RCPI and its Faculties are not in a position to help you with this. If you are not commencing in a post in July 2020, you are not eligible for this programme.
  • In your post, you must have a supervising consultant who is an approved RCPI Trainer
  • You must be eligible for inclusion on the Trainee Specialist Division of the Irish Medical Council’s register
  • You must have proof of competency in the English language in line with HSE Specifications

To be eligible for a place on the BST General Internal Medicine programme, you must be competent in:

  • intravenous cannulation
  • phlebotomy
  • nasogastric tube placement

Please note, if you previously applied for BST programmes starting in July 2020 and did not meet the minimum criteria for appointment this year, you are not eligible to apply.

Overview of the recruitment process

(Updated 30 July 2020) The recruitment process for these additional places in BST involves four key stages:

1. First stage – Register interest by 31 July

We will assess if you are eligible to progress to the second stage of recruitment.

2. Second stage – Submit full BST application by 26 August

If you are eligible to progress, you will need to submit a full BST application by 12pm, Wednesday 26 August 2020. The online application form will be our standard BST application form, and you will be asked for two completed appraisal forms. Please note that your current supervising consultant (who must be an approved RCPI Trainer) should not complete this appraisal form, but will be requested to complete a separate evaluation form in due course. You can read more about the application process here

If you are allowed to progress to the second stage of recruitment, you will receive access to our ePortfolio for BST and your BST curriculum. This does not confirm your place on the BST programme. Formal acceptance into BST will not be confirmed until after the interviews.

3. Interviews in September and October 2020

This is an interview process for this programme only. Any previous interviews will not be considered suitable for this programme. 

4. Offers - November 2020

If successful at interview, a formal offer will be sent to you before the end of November 2020. If you accept this offer of a place in BST you will be given access to our courses, online journals and other benefits for doctors in BST. You will then be on the BST programme as normal and will receive training credit for the six months completed July 2020 to January 2021.

Important points for applicants to remember

  • You are not on the BST programme until you receive an official offer in November 2020
  • All of the requirements for applying for BST still apply, including eligibility for trainee specialist registration, English Language Requirements and EU Community Preferencing
  • You must have a post organised for July 2020 with an approved RCPI Trainer
  • At any point of this application process you may be deemed ineligible to proceed - If you are deemed ineligible, you will be told why

Frequently Asked Questions

A Yes, you must be eligible to be on the trainee specialist division. In Ireland all applicants to training programmes must either hold, or be eligible to hold, registration on the trainee specialist division. Please check the Irish Medical Council’s guidance document here (PDF)

The first stage in the application process is registering your interest using the short online form available above (this form will remain available until 31 July 2020).

The strict deadline for registering your interest is 12:00 (midday) 31 July 2020.

If you progress to the next stage in the application process, you will be required to submit a full application for Basic Specialist Training by 26 August 2020.

A If you previously applied for our BST programme starting July 2020 and did not meet the minimum criteria for appointment this year, you are not eligible to apply. If you interviewed for our BST programme starting July 2020 and were not panelled following the interview, you are not eligible to apply. If you applied for our BST programme starting July 2019 or earlier and were unsuccessful, and you now meet the minimum criteria for appointment this year, you are eligible to apply.

No, this is the very same training programme. If your application is successful you will join our BST programme and will proceed through BST along with the trainees who started in July 2020.


Yes, you can apply. Places on the programme will be finalised after the interviews in November 2020.


That is your decision. If you accept a place on our BST programme you are making a commitment to the full duration of this training opportunity (two years for General Internal Medicine and Paediatrics; three years for Obstetrics and Gynaecology).


This is a competitive application process open to all doctors who meet the eligibility criteria by the time of registering an interest (deadline of 31 July 2020).

Why train with RCPI?

You know that being a great doctor requires more than clinical competence. Our training programmes will help you develop the communication, management and interpersonal skills essential for providing excellent patient care, along with expert training on ethics, specially tailored for individual specialties. We understand it’s important to care for the caregivers and we are committed to supporting the wellbeing of our Trainees, every step of the way.

If you are accepted onto our BST programme, you can be sure your training will be monitored and delivered to the highest standard possible. In addition to providing quality-assured, curriculum-based training with some of Ireland’s leading specialists, we offer a wide range of benefits, services and support to all those who are accepted onto our training programmes.

Benefits and services that we are pleased to offer Trainees include:

  • Free online access to BMJ Journals, the Lancet Online and our ejournal club for Trainees
  • A free four-month subscription to a BMJ OnExamination package
  • A wide range of discounts on travel, computers, insurance, medical equipment, entertainment, sports and fitness, financial products, and lots more through our group affinity scheme
  • A free Student Leap Card, which will get you discounts with Irish Rail, Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann, Dart and Luas services
  • Free attendance at many of our courses and events, including Masterclasses, all of your mandatory courses, and our annual National Education Day for Doctors in Training

Our commitment to you

The recruitment and retention of doctors has been, and remains, a top priority for RCPI. With these additional training posts there are now more opportunities for doctors to advance their medical careers while remaining within the Irish health service.

You can read our full statement on the HSE's announcement of the additional training posts here

As we finalise the procedures and logistics for filling these additional places on our BST programmes we are committed to working closely with training sites, HSE NDTP, RCPI Trainers and individual applicants.

How to contact us

The majority of RCPI employees are working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the best way to contact us is by email instead of by phone.

For queries relating to Basic Specialist Training email

If you need to speak to someone dial +353 1 8639700 and press 3 for Training and Faculties. Phone lines are manned 09:00 - 17:00 GMT, Monday to Friday.