Education and training

MRCP(UK) or MRCPCH (or equivalent) is a key entry requirement prior to starting specialist training in immunology. New trainees beginning their 5-year specialty training programme in clinical immunology will have completed foundation training and a core training programme. There are three core training programmes for immunology training:

  • core medical training (CMT)
  • acute care common stem – acute medicine (ACCS-AM) 
  • paediatric level 1.

There is a national selection process at ST3. The current curriculum (November 2015) includes immunology and allergy training and has both GMC and JCHMT approval. Less than full-time training is possible. According to the last RCP census, there are 42 trainees spread across the UK. With few exceptions, they are based in tertiary referral centres close to medical schools, allowing involvement in undergraduate medical student teaching, and academic research collaboration.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) has produced a cost of training document setting out the mandatory costs of training involved in college enrolment fees, examination costs and GMC fees. Published in October 2017, it has been compiled to help pre-specialty doctors make fully informed career selections, with a clear understanding of the mandatory costs of their future training pathway. 

Continuing professional development

Immunology covers many scientifically complex and fast developing areas, including:

  • immunotherapies
  • autoimmunity
  • transplantation
  • allergy
  • immunodeficiency
  • auto-inflammatory medicine
  • laboratory medicine.

Comprehensive continuing professional development (CPD) is therefore essential. Within job plans, supporting professional activities (SPA) time is required to fulfil the requirements of service accreditation and consultant revalidation. (At least 1 SPA weekly is required, and in a 10-session job plan the British Medical Association recommends 2.5 SPAs per week).