National Recruitment ST3 up to 15

Applicant Guide

Health Education South West (Severn) co-ordinates the national selection process for Ophthalmology at Level Three (ST3).

All the interviews will be hosted at a single centre in Bristol for posts across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  The posts will commence from August 2020 onwards.

When applying you will not need to select particular posts, regions, rotations, etc.; just complete and submit the application.  You will have the opportunity to rank all of the posts available nationally at a later stage in the selection process.

Below are all the details you need to know when submitting an application for specialty training and you can click here to download a printable copy of the guidance.

Details of the posts and training locations available can be viewed under the job description tab.

Recruitment Timetable

Please see the recruitment timetable for key dates in the selection process.  The timetable can be viewed under the resources section on the national ophthalmology website.

Link:  Key Dates


When submitting an application, you will need to make sure that you meet all the eligibility criteria by the application closing date (or date of interview/appointment if specifically stated). Eligibility requirements are those requirements listed as “Essential” in the person specification.

In order to assess if you have the required competences you will need to refer to the 2020 Person Specification. Further details about eligibility can also be found in the Applicant Handbook.  A link to the specification and the handbook are below.

Link:   ST3 Person Specification

Link:   Applicant Handbook

Applying Online through the Oriel Recruitment System

All specialty training applications for 2020 will be managed through a national online application system called “Oriel”.

You will need to create an account (account registration) before you can apply to a vacancy. After registration, you will be able to apply and track the progress of your application.

Account registration is available from the home page of Oriel.  An applicant user guide that will assist you in using the system at each stage of the recruitment process is available from the link below.

Our primary method of communication during the recruitment process we will be to message candidates via Oriel and the messages will appear on your applicant dashboard.  We will also send the correspondence via email, however, delivery of emails cannot be guaranteed as they are being sent externally to Oriel and should not be relied upon.  At key points in the selection process we will also send a text message

To access Oriel to register and apply, please visit: https://www.oriel.nhs.uk/

Link:  Oriel Applicant User Guide

Completing an Application

Applications open at 10:00 am on the 7th of November 2019 and can be completed and submitted from this date.

The specialty of Ophthalmology can be selected from the vacancy list within Oriel.  The vacancy contains information which will assist you with your application.

To access the application form, select the “apply here” button within the vacancy.

Please complete the application fully as incomplete applications will not be accepted.  There are no white space questions within the application form and page 7 is intentionally blank.

When completing your application, we recommend that you do not opt out of receiving text messages as we will send a text message at key stages in the recruitment process.

Additional Evidence

You may also need to complete and submit additional evidence as part of your application form.  Please refer to sections 1 – 6 below to check if you need to submit additional evidence at time of application.

1.  Evidence of Core Competence

For entry to ST3 specialty training all applicants are required to provide evidence of achievement of core competences.

This is essential to the progression of your application and the evidence should be uploaded to Oriel as part of your online application form.

  • If you are currently undertaking the second year of a specialty training programme in ophthalmology you do not need to upload any documentation.  If offered a position this will be conditional upon achieving a satisfactory ARCP at ST2 level. 
  • If you have completed ST1 and ST2 specialty training in ophthalmology, please upload a scanned copy of your ARCP to Oriel before the closing date of applications.
  • If none of the above apply, please complete and submit an Alternative Certificate of Core Competence to Enter Specialty Training.  A copy of the form can be found via the resources tab under the 'Demonstration of Core Competence' heading.


2.  Re-application to Specialty Training in Ophthalmology

This only applies to applicants reapplying for specialty training in Ophthalmology that have previously resigned or been removed from training. 

Applicants reapplying will need the support of their previous Head of School/Training Programme Director and Postgraduate Dean in order to reapply.

Applicants must ask their previous LETB/Deanery, Head of School/Training Programme Director and Postgraduate Dean to complete a “Support for Reapplication to a Specialty Training Programme Form”. This form is available to download from the link below and is also available within Oriel.

Applicants requiring this support are advised to start the process early as applications will not be considered without a fully completed and signed form.

The completed form should be emailed to Confidential.SW@hee.nhs.uk before the closing date of applications.

Link:  Reapplication to Specialty Training Form

3.  Re-application to Switch Deanery/LETB

Trainees currently working in the specialty, applying to continue their training in another region, without a break in service will be required to submit a Support for Reapplication to Specialty Training in a Different Region form.  This form is available to download from the link below and within Oriel.

The completed form should be emailed to Confidential.SW@hee.nhs.uk before the closing date of applications.

Link:  Reapplication to Specialty Training in a Different Region Form

4. Fitness to Practice

Applicants that have answered ‘yes’ to one or more of the questions in the fitness to practice section of the application form will need to submit a Fitness to Practice Declaration Form clearly defining the declaration.  The completed form can be accessed from the link below and should be emailed to Confidential.SW@hee.nhs.uk at time of application.

Link:  Fitness to Practice Declaration Form

5.  Adjustments under the Equality Act 2010

As a national recruiter we are aware of the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and will make reasonable adjustments to accommodate requests provided these are made known in advance. Adjustments cannot be guaranteed if contact is made late and no adjustments can be made on the day of the assessment.  If you require specific arrangements or adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 please outline the adjustment on page 8 of the application form.

To corroborate your request, you MUST attach independent evidence of your condition and support needs (e.g. an Educational Psychologist report for Dyslexia, correspondence from a medical professional managing your condition) to your application form by time of submission. Please use the ‘Document Upload’ area in your Oriel portal to upload the information.

Nursing mothers are advised to contact us directly via sevrecruitment.sw@hee.nhs.uk for further advice regarding this requirement.

6.  Special Circumstances

A national process has been introduced to assist applicants who need to remain in a specific region for well-founded personal reasons allowing them to be offered a particular region, should they be successful at interview.

Who is eligible?  Applicants with either a personal medical condition or disability that requires them to remain in a particular region for ongoing care and treatment or applicants who have primary caring responsibilities for someone with a disability. 

Eligibility will be considered at the time of application and therefore applicants must ensure that they declare this on their application form and submit supporting evidence by email. 

Applicants should complete the special circumstances application form and forward this together with supporting evidence to mdrs.nationalrecruitment@hee.nhs.uk as soon as the application is submitted but no later than the application closing date.

For further information and to access the forms please see the link below

Link:  Special Circumstances

Submitting an Application

Applications can be submitted until 4:00 pm (UK time) on the 28th of November 2019.  Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Only one application can be accepted and where multiple applications are submitted, only the first applicationsubmitted will be included in the process.

If you fail to provide the appropriate documentation your application will be longlisted out.

Note:  Alterations cannot be made to an application once it has been submitted.

Tip:  Remember to save and check your application and only press the submit button when you have carried out this process. This will ensure you are submitting the correct version of your application.


All applications will be checked for evidence of the essential criteria outlined in the person specification. Applications that do not demonstrate the criteria or fail to include additional evidence will not continue through the process.   Applicants will be notified if their application does not meet the essential criteria and has not been progressed to the next stage by the 18th of December 2019.  

Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA)

The multi-specialty recruitment assessment is an online test that forms part of the ST1 selection process.  Candidates applying to ST3 will NOT be required to take this test and all candidates that progress through the longlisting process will be invited to attend the interviews.


There will be no shortlisting within the ophthalmology selection process for 2020. Candidates will be required to achieve a minimum score in the MSRA to progress to interview.

Invitation to Selection Centre

Applicants will be notified of an invitation to interview via a message through Oriel and also a text message by no later than the 16th of January 2020.  Interview slots will be available to book through Oriel.  The interview slots are booked on a first come first served basis.

A strict policy is in place that candidates should NOT stay in the hotel where the interviews are being held.  Candidates should NOT book overnight accommodation at the Mercure Holland House Hotel, Redcliffe Hill, Bristol on the 5th of February 2020. 

Tip: Book an interview slot early to maximise choice.

The Selection Centre

The interview panel’s main aim is to find out how well you match the requirements of the person specification for the post for which you are applying, and to ensure that the best candidates are selected in this highly competitive process.

The interviews will be held at the Mercure Hotel, Redcliffe Hill, Bristol on the 6th of February 2020.  The process for each candidate from registration onwards may take up to 2 ½ hours. Further details will be published on the national recruitment website as the selection process continues.

Candidates attending the interviews will be asked to bring a paper portfolio of evidence.  The information to be contained within the portfolio is available in the resources section, within the national recruitment website.

Tip: We recommend you prepare your documentation as soon as possible.

Link: Paper Portfolio - List of Contents


As part of the national application process candidates will be asked to provide the names of three referees.  References will only be requested once applicants have accepted the offer of a training post.  The purpose of the reference is to confirm employment history and to highlight any concerns.

If no offer is made, or an offer is not accepted, referees will not be contacted.

Note: References will not be required at the interview.

Training Posts and Locations

Each Deanery/HEE local office has submitted their number of vacancies with a brief outline of the programme.  This information can be found on the national recruitment website under the heading of Job Description.  Also contained within this information is a local contact and a link to more detailed information.    The vacancies are correct at the point of advertisement but may be subject to change. All alterations to the vacancies will be published on the national recruitment website.

Expressing a preference - ‘where do you want to train?’

Candidates will be asked to rank the training locations in order of preference.  This process will be carried out within Oriel.  An automated message, containing instructions, will be sent to candidates on the 11th of February 2020. 

It is intended that the offers process will commence on the 26th of February 2020 and from 10:00 am the option to selection preferences will be temporarily suspended.  Following this a matching process will take place and successful candidates will receive their highest ranked preference available.  Candidates whose preferences have been exhausted before their name is reached will not receive an offer and will be notified of this.

Candidates that are deemed not to have demonstrated suitability for training within this specialty will not be included within the matching.

Further details of the offer process is available within the Applicant Handbook.


Candidates will be given feedback following the completion of the offer process.

Questions still remaining

If after reading this guide your question is not answered you can contact the national recruiter for questions regarding the recruitment process.

We often have candidates with questions regarding the scoring of the portfolio and also about the content.  To ensure that all candidates receive the same level of information we can only provide the guidance that is published on the website and no further details can be given to individuals.  With this in mind please do use the support lines for questions about the portfolio.

For questions regarding vacancy numbers and rotation details please contact the relevant Deanery/LETB.  The contact details are available in the Job Description section on the national recruitment website.