Training and consultants

Hey everyone!
I am a medical student trying to understand UK’s consultant pathway as a whole. It might be too early as a question but I wanna ask that once you become consultant, do you have to find a new job and join it or you can also continue to do work at the hospital you completed the training in?

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It’s never top early to think about your career.

To answer your question:

Yes, you have to find a job as a consultant once you get specialist registration.

Specialist and consultant are commonly used interchangeably, but there is a difference.

  • You are a registered specialist once you have completed a training program (or equivalent) in the eyes of GMC UK. This training program is made by the relevant royal colleges and implemented by the deanery (like health education of England, Wales deanery etc.), where you actually work in the NHS hospitals as a trainee doctor.

  • You are a consultant when you get employed by a trust in a hospital to run their healthcare service. These trusts will obviously look for people with specialist registration to work as a consultant.

But, that being said, a trust can also employ you as a trust consultant even if you don’t have specialist registration just because they are sure of your capabilities and competencies (if you have been working for them for a long time as a senior doctor).

All specialists can get a job as a consultant. All consultants are not necessarily registered specialists.

I hope I didn’t confuse you further.


Alright that really helped me understand. Thank you for your response.
So once you’re a specialist, it really depends on where you get a job/available vacancy, right? A wish to live and work in a particular city plays a lesser role.

Also is there a particular time in a year when more jobs are open to apply or it is general throughout?

Consultant jobs can be two types:

  1. Locum
  2. Substantive

Doctors generally take locum jobs first to test the waters. How is the hospital, how are other colleagues, how is the management and when both parties- hospital and the consultant are happy they sign a substantive contract.

That’s why you will see there is a lot of locum consultant posts available because that’s the way people start a consultant post.

A wish to live and work in a particular city plays a lesser role.

Not entirely. You can actively look for a locum consultant jobs in that area nearing your CCT.

Also is there a particular time in a year when more jobs are open to apply.

Not like this for consultant jobs. As far I know.


Ummmm… So is the pediatric cardiology pathway different from cardiology? Because I can’t find ‘pediatric’ theme training in cardiology higher training.
Does training in a specific theme from 3rd year till 5th mean that you can’t get job for other themes? (But still you’ve been practicing others as well all along).

Paediatric cardiology is a specialty on it’s own and has a bit different pathway than most other specialties.

Your initial training training is in pediatrics first then then from 4th year you move on to pediatric cardiology as almost like a fellowship sort of way.

Please read about Specialty training in Paediatrics here and you will find what your need to do to get into ST4 pediatric cardiology training.


Need some guidance in this matter
Totally new here
I’m a consultant urologist in Pakistan
How would I do locum in Uk