Clinical genetics is an exciting and tremendously varied specialty that touches on numerous other medical specialties.


Clinical genetics trainee characteristics

Clinical genetics will particularly suit trainees who are:

  • good communicators

  • those who enjoy variety

  • team workers

  • inquisitive

  • able to work with a measure of independence.


Working in clinical genetics

Clinical genetics is largely outpatient-based, with some ward referrals for specialist opinion. Clinical geneticists generally work in multidisciplinary, Regional Genetic Centres in close collaboration with laboratory scientists, genetic counsellors and academic colleagues.

The key roles of a clinical geneticist are to diagnose inherited disorders and birth defects, estimate genetic risks, organise appropriate genomic or other testing, and to provide advice to individuals who may have, or be at risk of, a genetic disorder. The work includes clinical assessment and working with laboratory scientists to interpret the significance of test results.

Since genetic disorders can affect people of all ages and involve all body systems, clinical geneticists work closely with a wide range of other specialties, frequently in multi-disciplinary clinics. Some sub-specialisation (dysmorphology, cancer genetics, neurogenetics, cardiac genetics, etc. ) is therefore common.

Entry into the specialty is usually at the ST3 level, either as a clinical or an academic trainee. Recruitment is arranged annually with candidates competing at a national level. Most trainees have a background in adult or paediatric medicine and must have MRCP(UK), MRCPCH or equivalent (please see ST3 clinical genetics person specifiction) prior to entry at ST3.

Most trainees become NHS consultants but those with a research interest may become full or part-time academic consultants, with fewer clinical commitments. Teaching is also an important part of the workload of most clinical geneticists.

Specialty trainees in Clinical Genetics will usually be based at a single regional genetics centre for the duration of their training although trainees may be expected to spend time in other units. Regional genetics centres provide clinical services for large geographical areas and often provide outreach clinics at other hospitals. Specialty trainees will participate in these clinics and regular travel may be necessary as part of training.


Further information

General / application queries

For general queries relating to areas such as eligibility criteria, making an application or the Oriel system, please contact the Physician Specialty Recruitment Office.

Queries regarding the progress of a submitted application should be directed to the lead recruiter for this specialty. The lead recruiter for clinical genetics is West Midlands.

NHS England West Midlands
email address [email protected]
website www.westmidlandsdeanery.nhs.uk

This specialty will not be participating in round 2 of 2024 recruitment.

Group 2 specialty

This is a Group 2 specialty and requires completion of the first two years of the internal medicine training (IMT) stage 1 programme or equivalent. Please visit the am I eligible? section of this website for further information about the eligibility criteria for Group 2 specialties.

Please be aware that clinical genetics accepts applicants from several other training routes, in addition to core-level physician training: anaesthetics, general practice, obstetrics and gynaecology, opthalmology, paediatrics, psychiatry, surgery.

Non-physician applicants must have obtained the basic specialty professional examination in addition to specific clinical experience and competences to be eligible. 

Please view the specialty's person specification for information about the requirements for applying from a non-physician background and the deadlines for when this must be achieved.

Commitment to specialty

The specialty will be assessing your commitment to specialty as part of the shortlisting process. Please visit the application scoring page for more information about how this is assessed and scored.

This specialty requires you to load documentary evidence in support of your claims. Be mindful of how much evidence you are uploading and avoid uploading large numbers of documents. Your evidence need only be sufficient to demonstrate to assessors whether you meet the criteria for a 'satisfactory' or 'good' level of commitment.

Although it is not possible to be exhaustive about the types of evidence to provide, examples include: attendance at taster sessions, participation in projects relating to the specialty, attendance at specialty events/teaching, participation in specialty groups/societies.

As part of the process of applying to HST, you may wish to gain an idea of how recruitment progressed in previous years for the various specialties participating in the nationally-coordinated recruitment.

To this end, we have published data dating back to 2013 (where this is available), based around four main areas:

  • Competition ratios - application numbers submitted to each specialty, along with the number of NTN and LAT posts available in each. It is worth noting that posts are subject to change throughout the round (increasing on average between 20-40%), and post numbers for this data are taken at the end of the round.

  • Shortlist scores - the scores awarded to all submitted applications, including average scores and distribution nationally.

  • Total scores - the total score awarded to all candidates who completed the full recruitment process for a specialty (application and interview), including some analysis of scores.

  • Post fill rates - the number of posts filled by region. 

We have published information for all specialties participating in our process that year; consequently not all specialties will have data in all cases.

This specialty will not be participating in round 2 of 2024 recruitment.

Indicative post numbers

Indicative vacancy numbers are available in the table below, broken down by region and divided between substantive national training number (NTN) and locum appointment for training (LAT) posts. In many cases these will be presented as a range (e.g. 1-4) as it is not always possible for regions to know at this stage how many vacancies there will be.

It is the intention that indicative post numbers for all regions will be published prior to the application opening date, although this cannot be guaranteed. Please note that this table is not likely to be updated subsequent to indicative numbers and actual numbers will be confirmed when programme preferences are opened later in the round.

Numbers subject to change

Please be aware that it is not uncommon for vacancy numbers to change as the round progresses.

More commonly, post vacancy numbers can increase as the round goes on (and confirmation of posts becomes available); but it is also possible that numbers can reduce as well. In the past, post numbers have risen an average of 20-40% from the start to the finish of the round but this can vary greatly for individual specialty/region combinations.

It is possible that regions which do not have a post at the start of the round may declare one after applications have closed. Whilst we try and minimise instances of this, it is not always possible to predict vacancies so even if there appears not to be a vacancy in your preferred specialty/region combination, you may wish to consider applying in case one becomes available during the round; you can check with the region concerned if you wish to check on the likelihood of a post arising.

Generally, once a region enter a post into a round they would always have at least one post available and would only withdraw it in exceptional circumstances.

Round 1 interview dates & posts

Region NTN posts LAT posts* Evidence upload date(s)Interview date(s)
East Midlands 1 - 3 N/A

20/12/23 - 08/01/24

20, 21 February 2024

East of England 0 N/A

London 

0 - 2

N/A

Kent, Surrey and Sussex

0

N/A
North East 0 - 1 N/A

North West

(Joint North West and Mersey programme)

1 - 2

N/A
South West

Peninsula

0 - 1

N/A

Severn
0 - 1

N/A
Thames Valley 0 - 1 N/A
Wessex 0 - 2 N/A
West Midlands (lead) 0 N/A
Yorkshire & Humber 0 - 3 N/A
Northern Ireland 0 TBC
Scotland** 1 TBC
Wales 0 - 1 TBC

*English LATs

Please note, English regions do not recruit to LAT posts.

**Scotland post numbers

If you are interested in working in Scotland, a breakdown of post numbers by the four Scottish regions is available on the Scottish Medical Training website. This has details of all specialty training post numbers in Scotland, including specialties which are not part of the nationally-coordinated process.

The SMT website will always be the more accurate one where they differ.

Interview content

The interview will be split across two stations with a separate pair of interviewers scoring you on the areas in their station. There will be four questions which range between 5-10 minutes in length. You will be marked on these questions and your communication skills, giving five scored areas in total. The headings below show the question areas and in which station they will be covered, along with information about what will be assessed.

Each station will last 15 minutes, so, including the time between stations, the interview will be approximately 40 minutes

Please note that this is subject to change and will be confirmed by the date of interview.

Scoring framework

The score of 1-5 an interviewer will award you for each assessment area is judged in relation to how well you perform against an expected level. Below is the framework used to award scores at interview, as well as interpretation of what these scores represent:

  

  

  

Mark

  

  

  
  

  

  

 Rating

  

  

  
  

  

  

Assessment

  

  

  

1

poor

not considered appointable

2

area for concern

performed below the level expected from a core level trainee applying to the specialty;
possibly unappointable, subject to discussion and performance in other areas

3

satisfactory

performed at the level expected of a core level trainee applying to the specialty;
the candidate is suitable for a higher specialty training post

4

good

above average ability;
the candidate is suitable for a higher specialty training post

5

excellent

highly performing trainee;
the candidate is suitable for a higher specialty training post

As shown in the table, for each of the question areas at interview, 3/5 is considered a satisfactory score; and reflects the level of performance that would be expected of a trainee ready to progress to a specialty training programme.

Should your performance go above and beyond this expected level, interviewers can award marks of 4/5 or 5/5 as appropriate.

Conversely, should your interview performance not reach the expected level, then interviewers can award marks of 1/5 or 2/5, as reflects their level of concern over your performance.


Appointability

Raw interview score (RIS)

The RIS is the sum of all ten scores awarded to you during your interview, but before any weighting is applied.

As each individual score will be between 1 and 5, your RIS will be between 10 and 50.

Appointability requirements

To be classed as 'appointable', you must meet all three criteria below:

  • none of your ten interview scores can be 1/5
  • no more than two of your ten interview scores can be 2/5
  • your RIS must be 30 or above.

If you meet all three requirements, your application will be assessed as appointable, and can progress to be considered for post offers.

However, if you fail to meet any of these requirements, your application must then be assessed as not appointable, and it will progress no further in that round.


Total score

After interview, a weighting is applied to the scores in each area, as well as your application score.

These scores are then combined to give your total score which determines your ranking, which will in turn be used to inform how offers are made. The weighting of different sections, as well as the method by which your total score is established, is detailed in the table accessible below:

    

 

  

    

 Interviewer   1

  

    

 Interviewer   2

  

    

Weighting

  

    

Max score

  

Question 1

Clinical scenario

/ 5

/ 5

2.0

20

Question 2

Research and service

/ 5

/ 5

1.5

15

Question 3

Communication mark

/ 5

/ 5

1.0

10

Question 4

 
Application and training    / 5    / 5 2.0 20
Question 5
Suitability and commitment / 5 / 5 1.5 15

Raw interview score

/ 40

Interview score (w weighting)

/ 80

 Application score

/ 50

0.4

/ 20

 Total score

/ 100