A doctor's guide to navigating the CESR (CP) pathway

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) is often referred to as one of the primary routes for a doctor to be able to work as a consultant in the UK, but what does it mean? In this guide, we cover everything that a doctor needs to know to navigate the CESR pathway including what it is, how CESR compares to CCT, what it involves, and the CESR application process with specialty-specific guidance.

Navigating the CESR (CP) pathway

What is the CESR pathway?

CESR is a route for doctors who want to join the GMC (General Medical Council) Specialist Register, and whose specialist training, qualifications, or experience was partially or fully completed outside of an approved CCT (Certificate of Completion of Training) program. CESR was previously known as Article 14 until the legislation was incorporated into the Medical Act in 2010.

What is CESR-CP?

The Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration Combined Programme (CESR-CP) is a simplified application process for doctors who have partly completed a GMC-approved training programme. Effective 1 January 2021, the GMC announced that they would now issue a CCT to doctors on a CESR combined programme.

What is a CCT?

A Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) confirms a doctor has completed an approved UK training programme and is eligible for entry into the Specialist Register or GP Register with the GMC.

Is a CESR equivalent to a CCT?

Yes. The CESR is equivalent to the CCT and upon completion, the doctor is added to the Specialist Register with the GMC and therefore eligible to apply for Consultant posts in the UK. Doctors who apply for CESR are assessed against the standard required for the award of CCT in their specialty.

What does the CESR route involve?

NHS trusts are offering specialty doctor job plans with CESR support giving doctors a convenient and structured route to work toward specialist registration.  These jobs offer a supportive environment with protected time to fulfill the requirements of the CESR application whilst gaining more experience within the NHS. In some specialties, this will involve rotating through various departments depending on the experience required. If you believe you already have the training, qualifications, and experience you can apply for CESR via the GMC.

If you are a doctor looking for an NHS role with CESR, browse job opportunities with CESR support at A&E Agency.


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The CESR application process

How long does the CESR application process take?

It can take six to nine months to process your application, so it’s important to research and prepare your evidence before submitting your CESR application for entry into the specialist register. The application process is as follows:

  • Doctors apply directly to the GMC uploading their portfolio of evidence
  • The portfolio is sent to the appropriate Royal College to assess
  • The assessment provides confirmation to the GMC that the doctor has the equivalent level of competence as a trainee applying for CCT and demonstrates evidence against all intended learning outcomes in the curriculum of their chosen specialty.

More information on how to apply for CESR via the GMC is available from this GMC guide.   

Who can apply for a CESR?

Doctors who have not completed a UK training programme and have undertaken specialist training for a minimum of 6 months or been awarded a specialist qualification in a non-UK country. More information about eligibility is available from the GMC website.

What evidence will I need to provide in my CESR application?

You will need to provide a substantial amount of evidence to the GMC. You should only send evidence that is relevant which will be approximately 150 documents or 1000 pages of evidence. The evidence includes qualifications, professional experience, references with structured reports, registration and licensing history and multiple documents for each of the areas of competence for your specialty. The evidence will vary per specialty and you need to understand your specialty-specific guidance. 

Do I need MRCP for a CESR?

No, MRCP is not a requirement for CESR but it is a straightforward way to evidence your core knowledge. You may not be successful in your application without providing detailed evidence demonstrating how every competency was covered for MRCP Part 1, MRCP Part 2, and MRCP PACES. This task would be very time-consuming and require precise accuracy and cross-referencing to be successful. The application will be simpler having passed the membership exams at the royal college of your specialty.

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