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OBJECTIVES: To report on the transition of junior doctors into higher specialist training in the UK, following the Calman reforms and recent initiatives to promote training in general practice. Design and setting Postal questionnaire survey carried out in the UK. PARTICIPANTS: All graduates of 1996 from UK medical schools were surveyed in 2002. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Outcome measures were considered to be details of applications, outcomes of applications, intentions to apply for specialist training, and career plans with regard to such issues as flexible training and work. RESULTS: Of 2312 responders, 39% had applied for specialist registrar (SpR) training and 35% for general practice (GP) training. Of applicants for SpR training, 68% were successful; 24% failed, almost all of whom intended to reapply, many after gaining research experience; 4% awaited a decision, and 4% had had another outcome (e.g. they withdrew their application). A sixth of responders intended to apply but had not yet done so. Of applicants for GP training, 95% had been successful. A further 2% intended to apply but had not yet done so. Responders viewed flexible and part-time training and work opportunities, and information about available posts, as being more widely available in general practice than in hospital practice. Half of the responders did not agree that their postgraduate training had been of a high standard. CONCLUSIONS: Progression into GP training seemed to have been a smoother and less protracted process than that into SpR training. Delayed applications for SpR training were common, and many of those who had applied had not been accepted. The use of research experience to strengthen a re-application was common.

Original publication




Journal article


Med Educ

Publication Date





573 - 579


Career Choice, Career Mobility, Education, Medical, Continuing, Education, Medical, Graduate, Medical Staff, Hospital, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom