National Recruitment ST1 up to 85

Recruitment Timetable

Apply from 26 October 2023
Closing date 23 November 2023
Interview dates 15 March 2024.
Offers from 26 March 2024

National Recruitment 2024

On behalf of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, NHS England (South West) is co-ordinating national recruitment into Ophthalmic Specialist Training at Level One (ST1) for posts commencing August 2024 onwards.  

Candidates will be able to preference all available posts across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  The interviews will be held remotely on the 15th of March 2024.  Candidates will not be required to attend in person. 

Before starting an application please refer to

  • "Job Description" for vacancy details
  • "Resources" for the applicant guidance and person specification

For specialty information click Becoming an Ophthalmologist

MSRA:  All candidates applying to Ophthalmology will be required to sit the Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment which is an online assessment. The assessment can be taken in from the 4th to 16th of January 2024 at Pearson Vue Centres.

Updates for 2024

  • The maximum number of months experience in ophthalmology has been increased for ST1 applications from 18 to 30 months.
  • There will be no recruitment at ST3 level going forward.


Anticipated Outcomes

  • Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT)

Run-through specialty training in Ophthalmology commences at level one (ST1) and will continue, subject to satisfactory annual review, until completion of training and award of CCT at level seven (ST7).

The vacancies quoted below are indicative and the actual number of posts in each area will be confirmed nearer to the time of offers.  The start date of the posts will be the 7th of August 2024 unless stated otherwise.  

Job descriptions from 2023 

East Midlands 

Vacancies: 1-2

The South Rotation consists of three District General Hospitals located in Lincoln, Kettering and Northampton. ST1s may expect to start to commence their training in any of these sites. They would expect to  rotate on an annual basis between these three sites. Sub specialist training is provided for at the Leicester Royal Infirmary where trainees rotate in the latter years of training. TSCs in most sub specialties can be arranged either at LRI or QMC. Academic trainees are encouraged and we have had  a number of ACFs and ACLs over the last few years on the rotation. An EyeSi is located at the Leicester Royal Infirmary which may be accessed by all trainees on the rotation.

Please contact Somnath Banerjee, TPD, for further information

For further details please see the East Midlands - Ophthalmology Website

East of England 

Vacancies: 0-7

TOP of the 2019, 2018 & 2017 GMC trainee survey: rated highest average across all 18 domains in the country out of all 15 regions.
2019 results
Overall average score of all 16 domains = 80.59 (Top of all 15 regions)

Regional Teaching = 85.34 (Top of all 15 regions)
Educational Supervision = 89.34 (4/15)
Overall satisfaction = 86.53 (2/15)

We have split our region into 3 manageable sub-rotations based around Addenbrooke’s or Norwich (voted in the top 3 units in the country for training). This negates the issue of huge commutes yet remains flexible to trainee needs and commitments outside of work. East of England has wonderful and affordable places to work, live and bring up families. Quality of life is high.

- East (Norwich / Cambridge / Bury St.Edmunds / Ipswich / James Paget)
- South (Cambridge / Southend / Colchester / Chelmsford / Welwyn Garden / Watford / Luton)
- West (Cambridge / Norwich / Peterborough / Huntingdon / Luton)

Surgical training opportunities are vast with little competition for cases. Our trainees regularly achieve 600-1000 phacos along with significant exposure to all subspecialty operations. Final year fellowships (TSC’s) are freely available without competition and further refine skills allowing trainees to confidently apply for future post CCT fellowships.

East of England is a vibrant and friendly place to train with huge emphasis on getting lots of surgical / clinical experience and training.  Some of the highlights of our training include

Simulation Facilities: very very strong

  • 3 EyESi simulators
  • 2 wetlabs
  • Cataract & complications simulation day
  • Cadaveric simulation day (strabismus)
  • Cadaveric simulation day (oculoplastics)
  • Trabeculectomy simulation day
  • Trauma simulation day

All the above are free to our trainees

Research Opportunities: 

  • Research projects available at all units, especially 2 teaching hospitals. Involvement in NIHR trials via the trainee network as above
  • Research training day annually
  • Research annual Prize competition

Description of what the Regional / Local teaching Programmes provide:

Very very strong - Regional Teaching = 85.34 (Top of all 15 regions)

  • 11 CORE regional study days (covering core curriculum with interactive lectures in the morning and afternoon OSCEs to practice examination and exam skills)
  • Friday afternoon Norwich teaching
  • Wed / Thur / Fri AM Cambridge teaching
  • Several smaller units also organise ½ day teaching in house weekly
  • 5 Simulation days (as above)
  • Senior Trainee Development Day
  • Research Training Day
  • Research Prize competition day
  • Case Presentation competition day
  • Exam Preparation Day
  • Regional Clinical Governance Day

New Regional Allied Health Professional teaching program also starting

Trainees appointed to Cambridge, Ipswich, Southend, West Suffolk, Luton & Dunstable, Moorfields, Cardiff, Liverpool, Southampton amongst others.

For further information please contact the Narman Puvanachandra (TPD) or visit the East of England Website.  Please visit the https://heeoe.hee.nhs.uk/ophth  and  https://heeoe.hee.nhs.uk/ophthalmology_welcome to see opportunities to come and meet us / meet some of our trainees, trainers and researchers

Kent, Surrey and Sussex 

Vacancies: 3-5

The HEKSS School of Ophthalmology was formed in 2011 and our commitment to excellence in patient care, education, and research is unparalleled.

The HEKSS training programme in Ophthalmology is a 7 year run-through programme from the first ST1 year to the final ST7 Trainee Selected Component (TSC) which is a sub-specialty year in a HEKSS or London unit.

We aim to give a good grounding in the basics for the first 2 years including a good start to gaining competency in cataract surgery. We support all our trainees in achieving a goal of having completed 100 cataract operations by the end of the ST2 year which is twice the number recommended nationally!

In 4 out of our 5 posts trainees will stay in the same hospital for the first two years and so get the benefit of some stability, on the other hand trainees may prefer to experience some variety across the beautiful Sussex coast rotating from ST1 in Worthing to your ST2 year in Hastings. In the first two years trainees will have a half day of protected teaching and a half day of personal study weekly.

Trainees will then rotate around posts in Kent, Surrey and Sussex for your ST3 to ST6 years ensuring a good mix of experience in all of the ophthalmology sub-specialties. We are not able to guarantee being placed in any particular part of the region in each year trainees will have the opportunity to rank the posts each year and we aim to be as family-friendly and thoughtful as possible when deciding placements. In these four years trainees  will have a half day of protected teaching and two half days for personal study weekly. The undertaking of research is actively supported by a regional group run by trainees for trainees.

For further information view the KSS Ophthalmology team or visit the KSS Ophthalmology Specialty Website.


North & South  London

Vacancies: 5-18

Ophthalmology is a vital and competitive specialty that evolves with the latest advances in medical technology. The London School of Ophthalmology co-ordinates the training programme in Ophthalmology at world-renowned teaching institutions including Moorfields Eye Hospital, St Thomas Hospital, Imperial College, as well as a number of excellent district general hospitals. Working with a diverse healthcare population across London, trainees will gain experience and training in a wide range of conditions in urban communities.

Please note that candidates can apply for the North London Ophthalmology Programme and/or the South London Ophthalmology Programme.  These are run separately. Please see the London Ophthalmology Specialty Training Website for further detail.

For further information or questions please contact the PGMDE Support Portal.

North East 

Vacancies: 2-4

NHS England - North East & North Cumbria (HEENE) delivers Ophthalmology training based on the curriculum set by the Royal College of Ophthalmology and approved by the General Medical Council (GMC).

The North East of England and North Cumbria is a wonderful and friendly place to work, live and raise a family.

The training programme is comprehensive and of a high standard.  Basic ophthalmic and surgical training is provided in the first 2 years and in subsequent years training is provided in all core ophthalmic subspecialties. HEENE is committed to supporting Trainees throughout their time in the region and aims to prepare them to a high standard in preparation to take up Consultant posts.

Training highlights include:

  • A regional 4-day ophthalmology induction programme for newly appointed Trainees.
  • The region has the latest technologies to deliver excellent learning opportunities, including use of two Eyesi surgical simulators with both phacoemulsification and vitreoretinal modules available.
  • Post-graduate curriculum-based teaching is supplemented with structured trabeculectomy, oculoplastic, squint, trauma and laser wet lab courses.  
  • Opportunities including Trainee Selected Component (TSC) advanced subspecialty training in most specialties.
  • Involvement in research, audit and innovation.
  • Annual Research and innovation competition
  • The region supports trainees applying for academic ophthalmology. Additional out of program research leading to MD or PhD is also encouraged.
  • Excellent exam success. Combined position for ophthalmic exam pass rate (2014 to 2019) is 3rd overall out of 17 regions

For further information please see the North East website / NHS Find Your Place or contact steven.callender@nhs.net  Human Resources Officer.

North West

The School of Ophthalmology in NHS England – North West offers an unparalleled exposure to the full range of ophthalmic disease and its management. A large, friendly and organised training programme, with an active research programme.

The North West is split into two sectors based on the former deanery footprints:

  • Cheshire and Merseyside (former Mersey Deanery)
  • Greater Manchester and Lancashire (former North Western Deanery)

Applicants will be appointed to one of the two sectors via the recruitment process. While appointees will spend the majority of their rotations in their appointed sector, doctors can take advantage of placements in both sectors during their training.

For further information please visit the North West School of Ophthalmology website

Cheshire and Merseyside Sector (former Mersey Deanery)

Hospitals in this sector include:

  • Alder Hey Hospital (Alder Hey Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Arrowe Park Hospital (Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Countess of Chester Hospital (Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Leighton Hospital (Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Royal Liverpool Hospital (Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Southport and Formby District General Hospital (Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust)
  • University Hospital Aintree (Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Warrington Hospital (Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)

For further information please visit the North West School of Ophthalmology (Cheshire and Merseyside) website

Greater Manchester and Lancashire sector (former North Western Deanery) 

Hospitals in this sector include:

  • Blackpool Victoria Hospital (Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Manchester Royal Eye Hospital (Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Rochdale Infirmary (Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Royal Blackburn Hospital and Burnley General Hospital (East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust)
  • Royal Bolton Hospital (Bolton NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Royal Lancaster Infirmary (University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Royal Preston Hospital (Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Stepping Hill Hospital (Stockport NHS Foundation Trust).

 For further information please visit the North West School of Ophthalmology (Greater Manchester and Lancashire) website


Vacancies: 1-3

There are four geographical regions within the Scotland Deanery offering training programmes in Ophthalmology (Click on the links below for more information on each region):

  • West - centred on Glasgow
  • South-East - centred on Edinburgh
  • East - centred on Dundee
  • North - centred on Aberdeen

Within each region trainees rotate through a mix of district general and tertiary referral hospitals to receive a broad training and gain from the experience of working with different teams and consultants. All subspecialties are offered with opportunities for Trainee Selected Components available.

Some of feature of training in the Scottish Deanery are: Cataract surgery training is offered from day one after doing the compulsory simulation surgery course, consultants are friendly and interested in teaching, trainees are well supported and indeed often supernumerary, the NHS in Scotland enjoys a close working relationship with optometrists, orthoptists and vision support officers whilst NHS funding is unique in that departments are directly funded to provide care rather than commissioned by the CCG's. You will find research and audit is encouraged and supported by the trainee research network. The contribution of trainees is valued, and the Scottish government has chosen not to change the Junior Doctors' Contract.

Living in Scotland offers something for everyone whatever your interests. Every outdoor pursuit is available on our doorstep. We have, a vibrant culture, no long commutes to work, affordable house prices, and excellent national and international transport links.

Scotland ranks at the top for trainee satisfaction in the GMC survey for Ophthalmology. You can look forward to experiencing the world renowned warm Scottish welcome from your colleagues, trainers, and patients.

For further information please see the Scottish Medical Training website or contact the Scotland recruitment team.

South West

Peninsula Rotation

Vacancies: to be confirmed

The South West Peninsula Ophthalmology training Programme provides excellent teaching and training in the beautiful environment of the South West of England. The training available is comprehensive and of a very high standard, supported by the latest technologies to deliver excellent outcomes.  

Trainees will be encouraged and supported through structured teaching programmes and well-established advanced sub-specialty training opportunities within the region. The South West is committed to supporting trainees and preparing them thoroughly for Consultant posts.  

The Undergraduate Schools of Medicine and Dentistry have enriched the teaching and training environment in the region. The Eye Surgery Simulator in Torbay will give you the best possible start to a career as an intra-ocular surgeon.  

For more information please contact the Peninsula Specialty Training Helpdesk or visit the Peninsula School of Ophthalmology Website.

Severn Rotation

Vacancies: 0-1

The South West Severn Ophthalmology training Programme provides excellent teaching and training across the Severn Training programme in Bath, Swindon, Bristol and Gloucester/Cheltenham. The training available is comprehensive and of a very high standard, supported by the latest technologies to deliver excellent outcomes.  

The ST1 (level one) posts within Severn are based at the Cheltenham General Hospital, Royal United Hospital, Bath and the Great Western Hospital in Swindon.

It is highly likely that year one and year two are undertaken within the same hospital, rotating at year three.  This will be dependent on the needs of the trainee and the requirements of the rotation.

Trainees will be encouraged and supported through structured teaching programmes and well-established advanced sub-specialty training opportunities within the region. The South West is committed to supporting trainees and preparing them thoroughly for Consultant posts.  

For further details please contact the email Lucy Curtis, Education Programme Manager or visit the Severn School of Ophthalmology website.

Thames Valley

Vacancies: 0-3

The Thames Valley Ophthalmic rotation comprises 23 trainees working in Oxford, Reading and Windsor, Stoke Mandeville and Milton Keynes.  The programme has a reputation for providing extensive practical experience in all areas of ophthalmology by trainers regarded as leaders in their field.  Research is encouraged and led by a vibrant program in Oxford with formal plans to extend activity to incorporate all hospitals in the region-opportunities exist for time out to obtain MD or PhD’s. There is an excellent track record of our trainees moving to high quality UK or international fellowships before taking up consultant posts. 

For further information please visit the Thames Valley website or contact the recruitment team.


Vacancies: 2-3

Ophthalmology Training in Wales is an All Wales Programme which covers North and South Wales and trainees will rotate to these regions during their training programme and is approved by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

Wales offers the 7 year training programme in Ophthalmology commencing at ST1 level and is aimed at doctors who can demonstrate the essential competences to enter this level of training.  The programme is designed to support training for a CCT in Ophthalmology.

Wales offers a number of sub specialties such as Medical Retia, Vitreoretinal Surgery, Glaucoma and Anterior segment, Oculoplastics and Orbit, Paediatrics and Strabismus and Neurophthalmology, which trainees could rotate through and gain competencies as the curriculum.

In the final year trainees may undertake one year of sub-specialty training prior to the award of CCT.

For further information please visit the Wales Deanery website or contact Wendy Hollifield from the welsh recruitment team.


Vacancies: 0-2

Wessex offers excellent opportunities for trainees to acquire the skills needed to fulfil a career in ophthalmology – the study and treatment of disorders and diseases of the eye.

The mix of three larger and four smaller departments gives the right balance of support and allow trainees to develop confidence and expertise across a wide range of sub-specialties and academic disciplines, helping them to meet the challenges of one of medicine’s most rewarding careers.

At any one time there are between 24 and 29 trainees benefiting from the high-quality training provided by HEE Wessex, equipping them with the skills and attributes they will need to provide excellent care to patients during their career as a consultant ophthalmologist.

At the end of the scheme trainees will be ready to work as a consultant ophthalmologist. However, many of our trainees go on to undertake sub-specialist fellowships and work at internationally renowned ophthalmology units such as London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital, other major centres in the UK, plus eye departments in Australia and Singapore.

HEE Wessex offers a wide range of all the major sub-specialties, including:

  • Paediatric ophthalmology
  • Strabismus
  • Oculoplastics
  • Glaucoma
  • Cornea
  • Anterior segment
  • Medical retina
  • Uveitis
  • Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Vitreoretinal surgery
  • Cataract surgery (supported by an in-house surgical simulator at Bournemouth Eye Unit).

Training locations

Wessex ophthalmology training is based at three major centres:

  • University Hospital Southampton
  • Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth
  • Royal Bournemouth Hospital

And at four smaller units:

  • Salisbury NHS FT
  • Hampshire Hospitals NHS FT
  • Isle of Wight
  • Dorchester (Dorset County Hospital NHS Trust)

This is a 7 year training programme in Ophthalmology at ST1 (or at ST3 if posts available) aimed at doctors who can demonstrate the essential competences to enter this level of training. The programme is designed to support training for a CCT in Ophthalmology. Details of essential competences and qualifications are detailed in the national person specification for Ophthalmology at ST1 which is available from NHS Specialty training website - http://specialtytraining.hee.nhs.uk

For further information please contact Sue Ksous (01962 690347)  or visit the Wessex Website.

West Midlands

Vacancies: 3-5

We are a large school with a total of 58 trainees including 2 medical Ophthalmology trainees.

Hospitals on rotation:

  • Birmingham & Midland Eye Centre
  • University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
  • Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust
  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust
  • Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Sandwell General Hospital
  • Royal Shrewsbury Hospital
  • University Hospitals of North Midlands
  • Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Hereford County Hospital
  • The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust

Surgical Simulation Opportunities for trainees - Simulation facilities and courses for trainees in the West Midlands Region

  • Eyesi virtual reality cataract & vitreoretinal simulator at Wolverhampton & new one coming to Birmingham.
  • Oculoplastics & Strabismus intermediate & advanced human cadaveric simulation course at Coventry.
  • Surgical wet labs are available at the Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre, Wolverhampton and Coventry
  • Micro incisional glaucoma surgery wet lab
  • Laser simulation courses
  • Trabeculectomy wet lab course
  • Corneal laceration and corneal gluing course

For further information contact the TPD Nirodhini Narendran or Head of School Harpreet Ahulwalia or visit the West Midlands website

Yorkshire and the Humber

Vacancies: 6-7

The Yorkshire and Humber School of Ophthalmology has two Training Programmes, one based in the South Yorkshire Locality and the other in the North/East/West Yorkshire Localities.

This programmes offer wide experience in all aspects of Ophthalmology. Trainees will rotate through hospital eye departments, obtaining training with opportunities both for specialist experience & research, balanced with increasing direct responsibility for patient care and opportunities for expanding surgical experience.

Trainees will complete a number of 6 and 12 month placements throughout the training programme allowing trainees opportunities for both for specialist experience & research, balanced with increasing direct responsibility for patient care and opportunities for expanding surgical experience.

For more information please contact the Specialty Recruitment Team or visit the local ophthalmology website

The information published may be subject to change throughout this selection process