How do I become a Consultant?
Consultants are specialised in a selected medical field. There are over sixty specialist fields within the NHS that Consultants can choose to specialise in. These specialities fall within several larger categories:
- Surgery: treating medical conditions with invasive procedures
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology: female reproduction and pregnancy
- Anaesthetics: using medicine to anaesthetise patients before any invasive surgical procedure
- Paediatrics: treating children
- Ophthalmology: treating eye conditions
- Radiology: using imaging techniques (e.g. x-rays and ultrasounds)
- Oncology: treating cancer and tumours
- Psychology: treating mental illness
- Pathology: studying diseases
Consultants start their training like all other Doctors: Medical School (4-7 years) followed by the Foundation years (2 years); then entering a training pathway either coupled – which includes core and specialty training (7 years total) as one run-through – or uncoupled, which has core training (2 years) and specialty training (5-8 years). The flowchart below simplifies this.
It’s important to note that this is the quickest anyone could achieve this level, and is not the norm. Many consultants will have taken years out along the way for further studies, sabbaticals, maternity/paternity leave etc.