Subspecialty Fellowships in Clinical Radiology
Do I need a fellowship?
Not every radiologist has to do subspecialty fellowship to be appointable. Whether you need to do a fellowship or not depends on the type of radiology job you will be aiming for yourself for the future. If you plan to work as a general radiologist with specialist interest or plan to work in district general hospital you should be fine without a fellowship. For those of you considering career in large teaching hospitals or/and in a narrow specialist field such as neuroradiology, MSK radiology, paediatric radiology or interventional radiology, then having a fellowship under your belt will make your CV stand up and increase your chances of getting a competitive job. Fellowship is an opportunity for focused, intense training in the chosen field, exposure to these aspects of the level 2 training (http://www.rcr.ac.uk/content.aspx?PageID=1804), which are not be available in your centre.
Alternative shorter option to consider is time-out-of-training (see our advice page on this topic-coming soon) for few months to get the necessary experience.
Types of fellowships
Pre-CCT fellowship usually lasts 1 year and is undertaken during the two final years of training. Ideally you will have passed the FRCR examination before you commence your fellowship to be able to focus on the subspecialty training. The best time to start your fellowship is year 4, as this gives you time in your final year to prepare for consultant post application.
Interventional pre-CCT fellowships may last 2 years; usually starting at your 5th and extending the training for the 6th year (see our advice on IR fellowships page- coming soon)
UK-based fellowships will count towards your training but you will need your deanery and RCR approval for this as for any out-of-programme experience.
It is relatively uncommon to do pre-CCT fellowship abroad, although it is now recognised by new GMC guidance that outside UK experience may form a part of subspecialty training, when approved by deanery and RCR. European Society of Radiology has a range of 3 months exchangeprogrammes for fellowships you can apply for https://esociety.netkey.at/esr/myesor/
They are valuable and recognised additions for your CV and further chance for focused training in the chosen subspecialty. You can chose from UK based fellowships advertised by big specialist centres across UK. There is a competitive entry and limited spaces which fill up quickly and in advance. If you are considering abroad experience, then Canada, North America and Australia are common destinations for UK radiologists.
When to apply for a fellowship?
Regardless which type of fellowship you are planning, the general rule is to apply early. Some of the fellowships, especially in North America or Canada advertise and fill up 2 years in advance.
How to get information about available fellowships?
If you think you may benefit from a fellowship, speak to your senior SpR colleagues and consultants. Junior forums of subspecialty British radiological societies and websites of the specialty centres in UK and abroad are good source of information.
Pre-CCT UK-based fellowships and post-CCT UK-based and outside UK fellowships came with a salary. It is worth to check in advance whether you can be a part of a local on-call rota, what will enhance your earnings.
Competitive fellowship grants and various scholarships are provided for European pre-CCT exchange programmes by European radiological societies and imaging companies.
Royal College of Radiologist position on fellowships
Dr Richard Fowler, a previous Warden Clinical Radiology had issued an official statement on position of RCR on fellowships in 2012:
“Following the October 2012 Joint Training Scheme Personnel meeting, I have been asked by several TPDs for a clear statement on fellowships and their relationship to structured training.
The RCR position is as follows:1) We believe all training schemes should strive to provide excellent higher training in all specialty areas in ST4-ST5 (and to ST6 for IR specialisms). Therefore we believe the concept of "fellowships" in these years of training is outdated and should be abandoned. Fellowships in these training years seem often to be more about enhancing the kudos of the institution, rather than any educational benefits to trainees.
Higher training opportunities should by default be available to local trainees and should only be advertised nationally in exceptional circumstances when no suitable local applicant has shown interest.2) Post CCT fellowship training in specialist areas is welcomed as UK should be able to compete with overseas centres and stop some of the brain-drain that occurs, particularly to N America. However, this type of fellowship should only be offered when it is absolutely clear that there will be no impact upon core and higher training at the locality.
The College's Training Department and I are unanimous in this view. I realise it will not be popular amongst those who wish to maintain status (quo), but I think it is important that we make an unambiguous statement on this issue.
Best wishes Dick
Warden, Clinical Radiology – Medical Director Education and Training, Clinical Radiology
http://www.mybspr.org/fellowshipintro.htm - great info on this site of various paeds radiology fellowships at home and abroad!
For further information on interventional specialist training in the UK please read the article below :-
For a review on interventional fellowships please see the following document regarding one trainee's experience of an IR fellowship in Halifax, Canada: