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Medical recruitment

We are responsible for commissioning under and postgraduate education for doctors and dentists to ensure that we have a workforce in the right numbers, with the right skills, values and behaviours to respond to the current and future needs of patients. This includes delivering medical recruitment programmes and overseeing specialty recruitment in England.


Medical and Dental Recruitment and Selection programme

We have been undertaking work to further improve quality across medical and dental recruitment and selection across the UK through the Medical and Dental Recruitment and Selection programme.

The Medical and dental recruitment and selection (MDRS) subgroups groups regularly report back on the delivery of medical and dental recruitment and selection, and where required, make recommendations to the Programme Board on areas for improvement. These groups include members from all four nations plus, royal college recruitment expertise representatives from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, BMA junior doctor representatives, a dental dean, the National School of Healthcare Scientists, National Institute for Health Research and the General Medical Council.

Their work includes:

  • developing Oriel, an online application portal for all recruitment for specialty training across the UK
  • encouraging those responsible for the recruitment, selection and appointment of trainee doctors and dentists to take a strategic approach to their quality assurance processes through the quality and standards workstream. This work includes the introduction of a Specialty Recruitment Assessment for ST1/CT1 applicants to general practice, core psychiatry and ophthalmology, the development of national standards for assessors, and the evaluation and improvement of medical selection processes.
  • promoting a strategic approach to medical and dental career planning and support in the UK through the career planning workstream. This work will look at determining how career planning information should be cascaded, collating information to inform career planning in medicine and dentistry, and optimising career planning for less popular specialties where recruitment has been difficult.
  • the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO) has responsibility for the delivery of recruitment to the Foundation Programme and Academic Foundation Programme and curriculum delivery.
  • the HEE Horus ePortfolio for the UKFPO in England is managed by a project and technical team within HEE and is overseen by the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO). Further information on e-portfolios to support the UK Foundation Programme can be found on the UKFPO website.
  • the 4 nation recruitment subgroup oversees all the recruitment and selection processes. It ensures these meet regulators standards, and that they are equitable and fair. This group reviews any changes or adaptations to the processes, and any issues, risks and mitigations

Medical recruitment programmes

We deliver medical recruitment programmes such as

  • recruiting to the Foundation Programme and Academic Foundation Programme and curriculum delivery through the UK Foundation Programme Office
  • and to specialties through national recruitment offices.

We have been working with partners to develop to launch a new campaign to encourage more young doctors to become GPs. The campaign Choose GP has the backing of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), the British Medical Association (BMA).

Overseas recruitment

We deliver pathways for overseas medical professionals to join the NHS, ensuring they have the right skills and development opportunities available

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Oriel recruitment

Oriel was developed by Health Education England as a UK-wide recruitment system for postgraduate specialty medical, dental and public health training.

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The Medical and Dental Recruitment and Selection (MDRS) Quality and Standards subgroup oversees the standards of delivery of specialty training recruitment and selection processes across the UK, aiming to drive improvements in the quality of the p

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