Latest statement

Statement published on 3rd June 2020

Interviews are now well under way. We have the following updates.

The volume of email traffic is huge at the moment and with a small team it is not always proving possible to send the outcomes within two working days. Please bear with us if you do not hear in two days: the delay will not be for long and it does not mean there is a problem.

Most interviews have gone ahead without incident but there have been a few technical issues with Teams or Skype, generally either lack of sound or image. If you experience this, leave the call and come back in through the link we sent you. In most cases this resolves the problem. It is useful to have a fallback option such as WhatsApp, just in case.

If the interview is unsuccessful, there is a complex process before we can allocate the next applicant from the standby pool. Employers, please bear with us in these cases, and we will send you details of your next candidate as quickly as possible.


Statement published on 20th May 2020

Proposed allocations of applicants to training posts were sent out to applicants from Thursday 14 May. Applicants had 48 hours to accept or decline.

The process has resulted in a significant number of applicants either declining allocations or allowing their allocations to expire. The team is now engaged in the process known as ‘recycling’, where the posts left vacant are allocated to other applicants from the standby pool. These new allocations also have to be offered to applicants who have 48 hours to accept or decline. The initial phase of the process will be completed by 20 May and the team will then begin the process of notifying employers.

Once allocations are completed, the team assigns unique reference numbers and prepares communications to the employers with contact information. This process requires considerable administration. Barring unforeseen delays, our aim is to send details of the allocated candidates to employers on Friday 22 May.

We realise this makes the original deadlines impossible to achieve, and will extend the period for interview as long as necessary but must aim to finish them by the end of June. We know this is later than anticipated and we apologise for the delay.

The later the interview takes place the less chance there will be to find another applicant if the original one is unsuccessful at interview.

We thank all participants in this process for their patience and understanding.


Frequently Asked Questions

We are compiling a list of frequently asked questions and their answers, which we aim to put here in the next week.

FAQs for applicants

If your questions are not answered below please email the recruitment team on hcsapplicants@hee.nhs.uk

When will I hear from the employer about the interview?

The majority of the allocations of applicants to posts should be shared with employers on Friday 22 May. We know this is later than anticipated and we apologise for the delay.

I don’t have a passport what ID can I use?

Photo ID e.g. driving license or student card and birth certificate and national insurance number.

Why do I now have an overall rank?

You will have noticed on Oriel that an overall rank has been attributed to you. This is part of the allocation process we are following. In itself it is not an indication of whether you will be allocated to a post, because the ranked applications have not yet been matched against location sub-preferences. When the rankings are matched with sub-preferences this will generate the definitive list of which applicants receive an allocation to a post.

Please await the updated list of confirmed posts/locations which will be on the website early next week. Location sub-preferencing will re-open on Thursday 7th.

When will we start the STP?

Currently the start date of the STP remains unchanged. Programme start date is early September 2020

How will COVID-19 affect our training?

We cannot predict how COVID-19 will affect training. There may be difficulties in providing rotations, or changes in university timetables. We will be as flexible as we can: as a trainee you will also have to be prepared to accept that the programme might not be delivered exactly as it has been in the past.

When will I hear if I have been allocated to a training provider?

We are working towards allocations as quickly as we can and need to allow time for employers to reconfirm posts. We cannot give a precise date to expect an allocation yet but will publish a date as soon as we can.

Can I add further information to my application?

Applications cannot be edited after the vacancy closing date. The information within your application will have already been reviewed.

Is the selection based on the written application only or does it include the aptitude test?

Selection is based on all scored parts of your application. The primary ranking is determined by your shortlisting score (which is based on the written application). If two applicants are tied at the same score, a number of tie-breaks are applied according to a weighting system. The final tie-breaker is the aptitude test scores. So, although the aptitude tests may be taken into account, they do not carry a great deal of weight.

Does the Guaranteed Interview Scheme still apply?

The Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS), for applicants who have a disability which affects their application, cannot operate as in normal years. In the normal process the GIS guaranteed that, provided you demonstrate you meet the person specification and have provided evidence of your disability and its effect on your application, you would be put forward for interview.

Because the recruitment process now being used means that local interviews occur after the allocations are made we are unable to guarantee interviews.

However if you are a GIS eligible applicant and were previously offered an interview slot under the scheme you will remain in the pool of applicants who could be matched to a post.

Will the interview be in the same format as before with 4 stations?

No, the interview will be conducted by a single panel rather than multiple panels at different stations. It will still include questions to assess scientific knowledge along with leadership, values and behaviour.

Are most host institutions still committed to providing training?

So far the majority have confirmed their intention to proceed. However given the COVID-19 emergency it is difficult to predict the demands on services going forward. The situation for individual departments could change. Any posts that are not going ahead will be withdrawn from the ‘posts by location’ pages of the website, which we advise you to check regularly.

Why has a location I have chosen as a sub-preference been removed from the website?

We are checking with employing training providers that they are still able to take on trainees this year. Unfortunately, some are no longer able to support a trainee: the COVID-19 emergency has had a significant impact on many diagnostic science services. When we are informed that a provider has withdrawn from the process, we remove the post from the website.

What if the posts I listed as my preferences have now been withdrawn?

Once we have reconfirmed the locations available, we will re-open preferencing for a limited period. Please watch out for announcements about when this will happen and make sure you do not miss your opportunity.

If I put an employer as first preference and they subsequently withdrew the post, would my second preference be substituted, or would the allocation go to an applicant who selected my second preference as their first choice?

Allocations will be made matching the highest ranking applicants to their ranked location sub-preferences. If a location no longer has a post this will not be included in the matching of allocations so your second preference will become your first preference.

Will I get my shortlisting and test scores?

Shortlisting scores will be released on Oriel once recruitment is complete. Test scores will need to be requested in writing to hcsapplicants@hee.nhs.uk

Will we get to see any feedback?

Feedback will be not be provided direct from the employer. Any requests for feedback should be submitted to hcsapplicants@hee.nhs.uk with photograph ID attached.

We will be unable to process requests for feedback until recruitment is complete.

When will our references be contacted?

Following a successful interview and your acceptance of the post, the HR dept of the employing Trust will contact your referees.

I was on the shortlist reserve list, what happens now?

If you have been given a status of shortlisted reserve for any given specialism, we regret to tell you that you are no longer in competition for a post in that specialism.

If you applied for two specialisms and were notified that you were ‘shortlisted for interview’ in one of them and ‘shortlisted reserve’ in the other, you will now be considered only for the specialism in which you were shortlisted for interview

I don't want to continue with my application, what shall I do?

If you are not happy for your application to be dealt with as described, please let us know by contacting NSHCS.MSCrecruitment@hee.nhs.uk as soon as possible. You could consider re-applying next year.

How the new selection method was agreed?

We agreed the selection method after discussion with HEE groups responsible for recruitment to medical, dental and other specialty selection. It was approved by the School’s Recruitment Steering Group, which includes employers, trainees, trade unions, universities, education commissioners and lay/patient representatives. It was subject to review from an expert external consultancy, the Work Psychology Group, which provided a comprehensive report supporting the proposal in view of the extreme circumstances. It was then signed off by the HEE Executive on 9 April 2020.

Will my status change on Oriel? 

Your status will not change on Oriel. Although your interview time and date will show, your interview will not now go ahead as scheduled.

Will I be reimbursed any travel and accommodation expenses?

At the time the decision to cancel the recruitment interview event was made we understand you may have already booked travel and accommodation.

Unfortunately, the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many decisions that are truly beyond our control and whilst we empathise with any losses incurred, we are unable to reimburse applicants.

We recommend contacting your travel provider and accommodation provider directly as some are able to issue refunds.

FAQs for interview panelists and employers

Will I be reimbursed any travel and accommodation expenses?

Any travel and accommodation expenses incurred by interview panel members before 13th March will be reimbursed as normal.

However in the first instance please try contacting your travel provider and accommodation provider directly as some are able to issue refunds.

Due to the current circumstances our recruitment team is working from home so will be unable to process any forms received by post, in the meantime please ensure claim forms are printed, signed, scanned and submitted via email to nshcs.mscrecruitment@hee.nhs.uk

We have a favoured person for this post: will I be able to choose my own candidate?

We regret we cannot assign posts to specific individuals. The process approved by HEE Executive, following advice from our stakeholder Steering Group and external consultants, must be followed in this exceptional year. We are obliged to run the allocation process in a fair transparent way based on the data and evaluation gathered in the shortlisting process, combined with the applicants’ selected preferences for location. If your preferred candidate has achieved a good ranking based on shortlisting scores and selects your trust as first preference, there is a reasonable chance of him/her being allocated to your post. However, we cannot take an applicant out of order because this would be unfair to other applicants.

How will you make sure the interviews are fair?

Questions will be standardised and score sheets will be provided. The School and the Academy for Healthcare Science will be observing a sample of the interviews.

How will we do the interviews? Applicants cannot travel to us

Interviews will be conducted remotely by video. You will agree a date and time with your applicant and the School will provide a platform and make the arrangements.

What happens if the applicant allocated to us is unsuitable?

We will have a standby list and if you decline your first applicant we will allocate from that list the highest ranked applicant in your specialty, who has selected your location as a preference.

How was this process agreed?

The process mirrors closely the emergency measures adopted for other health education programmes managed by Health Education England, including medical and dental specialty recruitment. It was signed off by HEE Executive following consultation with the School’s stakeholder steering group (which includes employers, trainees, lay representatives, university academics and School staff). It also had external scrutiny from Work Psychology Group, a consultancy.