Video Guide to Doctors' Job Titles in the NHS

One of the best thing about the NHS is that there are several career paths available to domestic and international doctors. Each pathway comes with ...

One of the best thing about the NHS is that there are several career paths available to domestic and international doctors. Each pathway comes with a set of job titles and with so many different terms to contend with it's easy to get confused.

Our video on NHS Doctors' Job Titles explains everything you need to know right from junior doctors graduating after medical school, through to consultant level doctors at the height of their career. In this video you'll learn the encompassing terms like 'junior' or 'middle grade' as well as the more intricate terms like clinical fellow, SHO or Locum Consultant.

Chapter Overview

You can skip ahead to the title you'd like to learn about with these timings:

00:00 - Intro

00:30 - Junior Doctor Job Titles

02:07 - Middle Grade Job Titles

03:23 - Specialty Doctor Job Titles

04:12 - Specialist Job Titles

04:49 - Consultant Job Titles

05:18 - GP Job Titles

06:04 - Locum Doctor Job Titles

06:41 - Summary

Additional information

You Can also read our article on NHS Doctors Titles Explained which supports this video with further information.

BDI Resourcing are proud to have helped over 1500 medical doctors with placements in to over 100 NHS Trusts. So if you're an IMG or NHS based doctor looking to move to a new role then please get in touch with BDI Resourcing via and we'll be happy to help.

Full Transcript

00:07 Hi everyone and welcome to today's

00:08 episode of the Vlog series.

00:10 One question we get asked all the time by

00:12 IMG doctors is what are the different job titles?

00:16 So we're going to run through them all, from Junior Doctor

00:18 right up to Consultant, and a few of the strange ones

00:21 that you might not have heard of before as well, to

00:23 hopefully give you an idea of what they all mean and

00:25 where they all fit into the UK system.

00:34 Alright, so the first title we're

00:35 going to explain is "Junior Doctor".

00:37 Now, officially, in the UK, a junior doctor

00:40 is any doctor below a consultant level, so

00:43 it's actually a very encompassing term.

00:45 The vast majority of the time, though, when you're

00:47 talking about it in day to day life, you're probably

00:49 thinking that it refers to what's called an a

00:53 senior house officer, which, again, is old terminology.

00:56 And the new version of this is for doctors to be

01:00 called either FY1 or FY2, and then CT1

01:04 and CT2, or ST1 and ST2.

01:07 So in rank order, you start with your

01:10 foundation years, your FY years, and during those,

01:13 that's when you've just graduated from medical school.

01:16 So FY1 would be the very first

01:17 year that you'd be working in a clinical

01:19 setting through to FY2, when, of course,

01:22 you get your foundation competencies signed off.

01:26 You then commence at either CT1 or CT2,

01:29 ST1 and ST2.

01:31 And the difference there is just the training

01:33 route that you choose to go through.

01:35 So for medical specialisms, for example.

01:37 So in medicine, you do core training (CT) where

01:40 you rotate amongst the different specialisms across medicine.

01:44 Whereas some of the run through specialisms that

01:47 run straight the way through from ST1,

01:50 right, the way through to ST6

01:51 include those like radiology or histopathology where you don't

01:55 need to do core training and rotate amongst

01:57 different specialisms before getting into the long term

02:01 specialism that you intend to concentrate on.

02:10 Okay, so the next set of job titles are

02:13 usually encompassed by the term middle grade doctor.

02:17 So this is what you might know in your

02:19 home country as a registrar or a resident, and

02:22 it's usually where your specialist training goes on.

02:26 So in the UK, if you're an official CCT trainee,

02:31 then you're going through the route known as ST3,

02:34 ST4, ST5, ST6 and so on.

02:37 Some of the specialisms have a year or two more.

02:39 So ST7 and ST8 do exist as well.

02:42 If you're not in a training post, then

02:45 you might hear the terms Trust Grade or

02:47 Senior Clinical Fellow used as well.

02:49 They're exactly the same.

02:51 They just mean a middle grade doctor, a

02:53 registrar doctor, an ST3 level doctor.

02:56 At this stage, you are specialising

02:58 in one field or chosen area.

03:01 So if you've come through CT1 and CT2

03:05 as a Core medicine trainee, you might then

03:08 go on to specialise in Cardiology, for example.

03:11 Or if you've gone ST1 and ST2

03:13 of course, that run through route continues.

03:15 So you might be an ST3,4,5,6

03:16 in Radiology, for example.

03:25 So the speciality doctor grade.

03:28 This is a grade which is basically

03:30 equivalent to anything ST3+.

03:34 And in the UK, it tends to be used for

03:36 those that have decided that they don't want to carry

03:38 on with their training, or maybe they want to take

03:39 a break from their training and rejoin it later on.

03:42 So it could be for very senior registrars who've decided

03:45 they don't want to sit CCT, or perhaps they've not

03:47 passed it and they need to do some more work.

03:49 So they opt out and could come back in if they need to.

03:52 But it's actually a very accessible route for senior

03:55 doctors from overseas who wish to enter the UK,

03:58 but still have those years of specialised experience recognised.

04:01 So it is a non training grade when

04:04 talked about in the UK, but for international

04:07 doctors, it can be a very appealing route.

04:15 So the specialist grade. This is not

04:17 to be confused with speciality doctor.

04:19 A specialist is something quite different in the NHS.

04:23 It's a new grade that's been brought in

04:26 for those that are not quite at consultant

04:28 level, perhaps they're not on the specialist register,

04:30 but they are seen as more senior than

04:32 a middle grade or registrar level doctor.

04:35 So it could be a very good route for

04:37 an international doctor who's practising as a consultant overseas

04:41 and wishes to enter the system above a middle

04:43 grade, but isn't quite yet on the specialist register.

04:52 So a consultant is the final point on the scale

04:56 for NHS doctors and this is the point at which

04:59 you will have completed all of your specialised training.

05:02 So right at the very top of the ladder, the main

05:06 focus for consultants in the UK is that you must be

05:08 able to practise independently and to be a substantive consultant, you

05:12 will need to be on the specialist register too.

05:21 So general practitioners, or GPs, as they're commonly

05:24 known in the UK, tend to be the

05:26 first point of call for most patients.

05:28 So they'll go and see a

05:30 GP in a local community, practise.

05:32 And the GP's job is to ascertain what's wrong

05:35 and perhaps make a referral onto an acute hospital.

5:39 They actually make up a huge part of the population

05:41 of doctors in the NHS, so it's a term you

05:44 might not be familiar with, because the tertiary care sector,

05:47 the general practise sector overseas, isn't often as big.

05:50 People are often seen just in acute hospital settings, but

05:54 here in the UK it's very, very different.

05:56 And most patients get seen in the first

05:58 instance in the community at GP practises.

06:07 So a locum doctor "locum tenens" is a Latin

06:11 term, basically means a temporary member of staff.

06:15 So if you're a locum doctor, you're working on

06:17 a fixed term contract, you're not there permanently.

06:21 There's two types of locums.

06:23 So agency locums are those who

06:25 are employed by a private agency.

06:27 They're often paid an hourly rate,

06:29 which tends to be quite expensive.

06:31 Or or you can be an NHS locum,

06:33 which means you work directly for the NHS

06:35 and you're employed on a direct staff contract.

06:44 If you're not sure where you might fit into

06:46 the UK NHS system, then do get in touch.

06:49 We can definitely help point you in the right

06:51 direction or take a look at your CV to

06:53 find out which would be the most equivalent role.

06:56 We really appreciate you listening to today's episode of the

06:59 Vlog series, and if you've got any questions, we'll put

07:01 our contact details up at the end of the video.