Higher Specialist Training

Trainees talking about notes.

The final crucial step on the path to specialisation in medicine

Higher Specialist Training (HST) is the final crucial step on the path to specialisation in medicine. It is a four- to six-year training programme completed in Specialist Registrar (SpR) posts, with programmes available in 28 specialties.

On completion of HST, you will be eligible to register with the Medical Council of Ireland as a specialist and can begin to apply for consultant posts.

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

Important information for Trainees 

January 6, 2021 - The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) would like to reassure Trainees that all of your mandatory training courses are going ahead, as scheduled, this January and February. If a training course is being rescheduled or postponed, we will be in touch.

However, we are conscious that Trainees are working on the frontline of the health service during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and that due to this they may find themselves unable to attend a course.

If a Trainee finds themselves in this position and is unable to attend any mandatory training courses, please let us know in advance and we will endeavor to offer this course/s again at a future date.

Please contact the relevant coordinators in RCPI with the details of the course you are unable to attend at this time.

For Basic Specialist Training please contact Niamh Goucher at niamhgoucher@rcpi.ie  

For Higher Specialist Training please contact Paula Cullen at paulcullen@rcpi.ie

In addition, our health and wellbeing services remain open for those who may need to avail of them. All scheduled meetings will go ahead using either Skype or Zoom. Click here to find out more about the supports they can offer at this time.

Information regarding non-EU doctors

November 10, 2020 - The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) has welcomed news that Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, has enacted legislative changes that will help non-EEA doctors to access postgraduate specialist training in Ireland. RCPI had actively advocated for this legislative change and will continue to advocate for the expansion of training posts and wider access to these programmes.

Minister Donnelly signed an order commencing Sections 97 and 100 of the Regulated Professions (Health and Social Care) (Amendment) Act 2020. These sections amend the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 and remove a requirement that doctors who qualified in a non-EEA country, and who wish to commence postgraduate medical training in Ireland, must have completed an internship deemed the equivalent of that completed in Ireland.

As the largest postgraduate medical training body in Ireland, RCPI has long been aware of issues regarding access to specialist training for non-EEA qualified doctors and has worked 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 were not in training schemes. This issue was discussed at a recent RCPI Council meeting and the College held meetings with doctors who advocated for changes on behalf of this group.

RCPI continues to work with a wide range of stakeholders, including the HSE National Doctor Training and Planning (NDTP), to expand educational and training opportunities for those doctors who are not currently in training schemes. The RCPI is currently working with the NDTP/HSE and the Forum of Postgraduate Training Bodies on a Framework of Structured Supports for Non-Training Scheme Doctors in Ireland. This is being led out by the NDTP and the training bodies are engaged in formulating this and rolling out going forward for the HSE (NDTP) and the wider healthcare system.

Access to RCPI specialist training programmes is governed by guidance issued to RCPI by HSE NDTP

Training bodies are supported and funded by HSE NDTP.

I highly recommend RCPI's Higher Specialist Training programme. It has more than prepared me to be competitive at an international level and after going abroad, I realised how well rounded my training was in terms of knowledge, technical abilities, professionalism and approach to work.

Grace Chan

Gastroenterology Consultant in London with an interest in hepatopancreaticobiliary