Recruitment to Pain Medicine

Recruitment into Higher and Advanced Pain Medicine training posts happens locally. Further information on training and recruitment to Advanced Pain Training posts can be found by clicking on each of the regions below.

Recruitment to Higher Pain Training posts is more informal.  It is recommended that you contact your Local Pain Medicine Educational Supervisor (LPMES) and Regional Advisor in Pain Medicine (RAPM) to discuss your options and how this would fit into your training programme.

You can find more information on preparing for consultant posts here.

RAPMs and Recruitment Information by Region

  • RAPM:  Dr Paul Rolfe
  • Posts available per year: The region is small and we normally manage to accommodate all trainees who express an interest in pursuing higher or advanced training in pain medicine
  • Advertising: Posts are not formally advertised. Please ensure you express interest during your ARCP when in years ST4 or ST5
  • Application and interview process: Interview process is informal and occurs with the RAPM and the Programme Director.

Advanced Pain Training in the Anglia region usually begins with trainees expressing an interest earlier in their training. There is currently no formal interview process however trainees are expected to show a significant interest in Pain Medicine and will have produced audits or attended conferences to support this, prior to starting their Advanced Pain Training. Trainees usually come from within the region, although provisions are being made with the TPD and Deanery to advertise out of region in the future. 

  • RAPM:  Dr Yehia Kamel             
  • Posts available per year:  2
  • Advertising:  In region
  • Application & Interview process:

Two Advanced Pain Training posts are advertised within the region annually although advertising nationally is a possibility.

  • RAPM:   TBC
  • Posts available per year:  2

APT is undertaken between Nottingham and Derby. We can only accomodate two trainees at a time and encourage discussion with the RAPM and Training Program Director as early as possible. Most APTs are in-program

We are developing an information pack, led by one of the recent APTs to assist in understanding what opportunities there are in the region for APT, including links with allied specialties such as Rheumatology, Neurology, Orthopaedics.

There is a range of Pain approaches available from Biopsychosocial, to Interventions. There is multidisciplinary support from Nurses, Psychology, and Physiotherapy. We have six-monthly educational meetings, linking with the Leicester region, and trainees are encouraged to take part in our business meetings to understand the background to planning and organising Services.

  • RAPM North Thames:   Dr Jeremy Weinbren
  • RAPM South Thames:  Dr Sandesha Kothari          
  • Posts available per year:  15+       
  • Advertising:  Twice yearly on School, Deanery & BMJ websites
  • Application & Interview process:  Formal application & interview process

Advanced Pain Training posts are advertised twice yearly on the school, deanery and BMJ websites and trainees are appointed following a formal interview process organised by the London Deanery. Trainees must have completed Higher Pain Training by the proposed APT start date. Candidates are interviewed by two panels; one covering clinical aspects and the other covering assessments which includes a short presentation by the candidate on a pre-determined topic. Candidates are then graded, ranked and offered posts accordingly.

We look for candidates with a good CV and good communication skills who can illustrate that they are team players. We have a lot of applications from current ‘Pain Research Fellows’ for APT posts which we have encouraged provided they can commit to full time APT.

  • RAPM:  Dr HooKee Tsang            
  • Posts available per year:  3
  • Advertising:  In region & nationally
  • Application & Interview process:  Formal application & interview process

There are potentially 3 posts suitable for Advanced Pain Training in Mersey; the posts are advertised and available to Mersey trainees and external candidates who are able to arrange inter-deanery secondment. There is a formal application and interview process.

In order to be successful, candidates need to demonstrate an enthusiasm for the specialty and talk knowledgeably about recent developments and controversies in Pain Medicine. They should have gained as much experience as possible at intermediate and higher training and provide good logbooks as well as having joined the BPS and attended relevant CPD events.

Click here to read a Transmitter article of a trainee's experience of training at The Walton Centre. 

  • RAPM:  Dr Nick Hacking
  • Posts available per year:  2+
  • Application & Interview process:   Formal application & interview process

All anaesthetic trainees in a position to apply for an advanced year are informed of the interview process and encouraged to apply.  Interested trainees are advised to contact the RAPM, LPMESs and current trainees in units involved in training. Interviews are held with the RAPM, LPMESs from the lead APT hospitals and a medical member of the Anaesthetic deanery for approximately 1 hour. We usually appoint 2 trainees but can, and have, accommodated more.

  • RAPM:  Dr Ashish Gulve
  • Posts available per year:  3
  • Advertising:      
  • Application & Interview process:  No formal interview process; currently under review.

Historically Advanced Pain Training posts have been granted on a non-competitive basis as supply and demand have been equal. Posts are usually offered in ST5 as the result of a personal approach to the RAPM.

However, it was recently agreed that future posts will be offered on a competitive interview basis which should come into effect in the next two years.

APT's exist in the southern (Middlesbrough; James Cook) and northern (Newcastle; RVI) hubs which operate independently. Learning opportunities exist in surrounding DGH's where needed. The total number of trainees ranges from 1-3 (both hubs accepting 1 trainee before a third is placed.) There is a proposal for trainees to train in acute pain medicine where historically APT posts have gone to chronic pain trainees.

  • RAPM: Dr Conor Farrell

  • Posts available per year: 1

  • Advertising: In region

  • Application & Interview process: Formal application & interview process

Northern Ireland has one APT post which is advertised locally. A 30 minute interview is held with the RAPM and two other Consultants on a best mark system, each interviewer will ask 2 questions.

Dr Gerry Browne's article on Pain Medicine training Northern Ireland was published in the Autumn 2013 edition of Transmitter. You can read the article below.


Go west young man. Go west!

Northern Ireland is the smallest of the regions in the United Kingdom. Due to our location you have to fly, sail or swim to reach our shores. At our widest we stretch for 110 miles, maximal elongation is 80 miles measuring just 5400 square miles in total. It is however well worth the journey - just ask the G8 summiteers - they came this year amid great fanfare to County Fermanagh.

There are many local treasures including the North Antrim coast, the Giant’s Causeway, Titanic Quarter and this year’s City of Culture - Derry/Londonderry.

The population of Northern Ireland is 1,800,000 (2011 census) and we have apparently the highest incidence of chronic pain in the UK at approximately 19% of the adult population. We number 16 Consultants who provide pain services, the vast majority retaining some anaesthetic sessions. As well as RAPM (me!) there are four appointed LMES - most of us are  “home grown” but we have colleagues from further afield.

Our School of Anaesthesia is very supportive of chronic pain as a speciality encouraging those who wish to undertake HPT along with our allocation of one APT placement per annum. We encourage our advanced trainees to look for further training opportunities across the UK either as day release or as a short attachment and would welcome the possibility of “exchange fellows”.

At present we have no formal basic pain research but maintain local audits and projects.  There is an MSc in Pain Management at Queen’s University, Belfast. In addition, active participation and feedback continues between Pain Consultants and patients via PANI (Pain Association of Northern Ireland). We currently do not have PCTs but are managed by five Trusts notionally divided across four board areas.

There is a vibrant local multidisciplinary pain society - Northern Ireland Pain Society (NIPS) which holds regular meetings during term-time and an annual study day. 

Geographically our closest academic link is with the Irish Faculty of Pain Medicine, many of our Consultants being founding fellows. I am an elected member of the faculty board.  Some of the preparation of this article was conducted on the two hour train journey linking Belfast and Dublin. 

The Irish Pain Faculty annual scientific meeting attracting world class speakers is within easy reach and in February 2014 will hold a joint meeting with NSUKI - a definite date for any calendar. We also have had and will further explore joint meetings with our colleagues in the west of Scotland. 

In the near future the amalgamation of three Pain Clinics in Belfast will be completed and should then provide for the purposes of training the Pain Fellow and higher trainees, a hub with spokes radiating to other Pain Clinics thus further improving our multidisciplinary approach to chronic pain.

Whilst not wishing to single out any individual it would be remiss not to congratulate Dr William Campbell current President of the British Pain Society who has been active with NIPS since its inception and is responsible for its logo (visible on some notepaper and ties of a certain vintage).

In summary we are a small (growing) band of dedicated pain practitioners - keen to educate and be educated and like our ex-world boxing champion “The Pocket Rocket”, we pack a strong pain punch.

  • RAPM: Dr Peter Cole
  • Posts available per year: 2
  • Advertising: There are excellent clinical and research opportunities in this region. 
  • Application & Interview process: By informal interview; however on occasions a formal interview may be necessary if there are more applicants than posts.     

The Oxford Advanced Pain Training fellowship offers a unique learning experience that reflects the biopsychosocial approach of Pain medicine in a setting where advanced and complex pain conditions are managed.

In the first 3 months of the fellowship a trainee can expect to see new patients with ample consultation times, to begin their training in administering interventional pain therapies and participate in acute pain ward rounds with problems ranging from phantom limb pain, cancer pain, opioid overuse, complex multi-compartmental surgery and aberrant drug use. The pain clinic, acute pain ward round and the interventional therapy sessions are a staple part of the 12 month training programme.

In the second 3 months there is the opportunity to participate and follow a group of patients through a pain management programme, sit in with the resident psychologists, and join the neurosurgical team to be involved in dorsal root ganglion, spinal cord stimulator, and deep brain stimulator implantation. In the third three months the trainee will begin their sessions in cancer pain medicine and have exposure to paediatric chronic pain.

The trainee will be actively encouraged to run the fortnightly journal club which offers them both the opportunity to learn about pain medicine, review current practices and understand evidence appraisal. The journal club forms part of the MDT meeting which the trainee is expected to participate in and present patients.

The final 3 months are for the trainee to spend honing their pain clinic, interventional skills and finalising their ATM competencies. There will also be time for them to explore other areas of pain medicine that are of interest to them and available within the Oxford Trust:

  • Headache at the Oxford Headache Centre
  • Chronic Pelvic Pain at the Women’s centre
  • Palliative care pain
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Psychiatry
  • Neurological pain conditions
  • Head, neck and facial pain conditions

The Oxford University Hospitals NHS trust is also home to the world leading MRI pain research centre, FMRIB, and the Cochrane Pain Group. Should the trainee have an interest in research both of these groups present opportunities for the trainee to get involved.

  • RAPM:  Dr Michael Neil
  • Advertising:  BMJ
  • Application & Interview process:  Formal application & interview process

Trainees interested in Pain Medicine are encouraged to discuss their pain career with their RA in Pain Medicine during their basic or intermediate anaesthetic training in order to begin Higher Pain Training.

Appointment to Advanced Pain Training is by a formal application process. Posts are advertised nationally in the BMJ; candidates are interviewed by 2 Pain Medicine Consultants and 1 Anaesthetic Consultant on general political and topical pain issues as well as their ideas for audit and research. All Advanced Paining Training candidates must have completed Higher Pain Training by the proposed APT start date.

  • RAPM:  Dr Ravi Nagaraja
  • Posts available per year: 1
  • Advertising:  NHSG vacancies & BMJ website
  • Application & Interview process:  Formal application & interview process

One Advanced Pain Trainee is recruited per year; the post is advertised in the NHSG vacancies and the BMJ. Candidates are interviewed by a panel consisting of a university representative, the RA in Pain Medicine and the Anaesthetic TPD. They should have completed Higher Pain Training before beginning Advanced Pain Training.

The year long programme is protected for Pain Medicine with anaesthetic on calls only at weekends. In addition to Cancer, Acute and Chronic Pain services, the APT will spend a week in Rheumatology, Radiology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Spinal Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation Medicine.

Candidates should demonstrate genuine interest in Pain Medicine by organising/participating audits and appearing in publications; they should have membership with Pain Medicine societies such as the BPS, NBPA etc and prove attendance at course and conferences relating to Pain Medicine.

The North of Scotland has recently reviewed its Advanced Pain Training centre; a summary of the opportunities and facilities available in this centre can be found below:

  • RAPM:  Dr Ivan Marples     
  • Posts available per year: 1+
  • Advertising:  National
  • Application & Interview process:  Formal application & interview process

For Advanced Pain Training we have one dedicated post per year which is advertised nationally followed by a competitive interview although for the past four years there have been two posts available. Training is primarily based in Edinburgh with opportunities to gain experience in smaller multi-disciplinary clinics in the surrounding areas. There are also a number of specialist clinics including Pain and Dependency, Pelvic Pain and a combined clinic with Palliative Medicine.

There are regular tutorials throughout the year locally geared towards the exam curriculum and a trainee network within Scotland is being set up with the support of the four Scottish RAPMS. There is also an annual FFPMRCA exam preparation course organised by the Scottish RAPMS which trainees are encouraged to attend.

Within Edinburgh, there is an active research programme in translational pain medicine and there are a range of opportunities to become involved in pain research, areas of interest include: Cancer Pain, Cannabinoids, Neuropathic Pain, fMRI in Pain, Opoids, Chronic Post-surgical Pain and Pain in MS. The Scottish Pain Research Community (SPaRC) provides an arena for showcasing any research with a well attended annual scientific meeting that trainees are encouraged to present at.

  • RAPM:  Peter Paisley
  • Posts available per year: 2      
  • Advertising:  National
  • Application & Interview process:  Formal application/interview process

Advanced Pain Training posts are advertised nationally, usually at the beginning of the year for an August start date, and are awarded following competitive interview. Trainees must have completed Higher Pain Training and hold an ARCP outcome 1 in order to be eligible to apply.

Trainees are advised to attend relevant Pain Medicine meetings and events as well in participating in pain related audits, service development and teaching. They must also have a genuine interest and be aware of current developments and issues.  

  • RAPM:  Dr Anna Weiss               
  • Posts available per year:  1+
  • Advertising:  In region (advertise externally if no local interest)
  • Application & Interview process:  Formal application & interview process

Advanced Pain Training posts are advertised annually through Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education.  Funding is ring-fenced for a single whole time equivalent advanced training post.  Individual arrangements for a further trainee may be considered.  

Most Advanced Pain Trainees have developed an interest long before they apply for an Advanced Training Post and often state an interest during their intermediate training.   All hospitals in the region have arrangements for modular training at intermediate level and offer a broad training experience to aid career choices.

Advanced Pain Training is shared between the region’s tertiary centre (Plymouth) and a training centre of choice (Exeter, Torbay and Truro).  This allows for a broad training covering the Advanced Pain curriculum and for trainees to gain hands on experience of all aspects of pain medicine, including pain management, neuromodulation and various pain service MDTs, including palliative care.

There is opportunity for research within the School of Anaesthesia research initiative and through individual pain management clinicians. Involvement in QI, teaching and management is supported by all units.

Appointment is via a competitive interview process arranged by Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education typically 5 months before the anticipated start date of August.  Individual requirements can be considered if trainees have to commence Advanced Pain Training at a different point in the training year. 

  • RAPM:  Dr Gaurva Chhabra
  • Posts available per year:             
  • Advertising:      
  • Application & Interview process:   No formal application/interview process

There is no formal interview process for Advanced Pain Training; trainees express interest to the programme director who allocates the trainees to posts depending on availability and the trainee’s preference for training centres. It is compulsory to complete six months Advanced Pain Training at Frenchay Hospital, but trainees can chose between University Hospital Bristol, Royal United Hospital Bath and Cheltenham General Hospital for the remaining six months.

Trainees usually decide their interests by ST5 but undertake APT in ST6/ST7. To date, we have had no problem accommodating the interests of all trainees but if demand exceeds availability interviews would be conducted.

  • RAPM:  Dr Sonia Pierce
  • Posts available per year:  2-3
  • Advertising:  In region
  • Application & Interview process: Submission of CV and Interview

Trainees with an interest in Advanced Pain Training are directed to the RAPM who encourages them to meet with the LPMESs in the area of Wales they are considering training. We have two rotations based in South East Wales (split between Cardiff and Newport) and one based in North Wales (with attachments to some specialised centres in Liverpool).

Trainees are asked to submit a CV and a short interview is conducted before the RAPM and relevant LPMES meet to discuss the candidates suitability and, if appropriate, the post is offered. Up to three trainees can be appointed per year. We have never advertised externally.

The RAPM works closely with the Head of School of Anaesthesia/Regional Adviser and Programme Director to ensure the higher pain training module can be built early into a trainee’s rotation. There are numerous opportunities for trainees to find out about APT. The Welsh School of Anaesthesia website has further details and all trainees about to enter ST5 attend an Annual Study Day where they learn about a variety of advanced training opportunities including Higher and Advanced Pain Training. We hold two annual all Wales Pain Medicine Training days open to anaesthetic trainees in Wales, one in South and one in North Wales, giving further opportunity for trainees to meet the RAPM and / or LPMESs. 

  • RAPM:  Dr Dominic Aldington
  • Posts available per year: 2             
  • Advertising:  In region
  • Application & Interview process:  No Formal application/interview process

Recruitment to Advanced Pain Training is done locally with trainees expressing interest to their RAPM/Programme Director. There is no formal interview process; candidates are allocated to posts depending on availability.

  • RAPM:  Dr Shyam Balasubramanian
  • Posts available per year:           
  • Advertising:   In region
  • Application & Interview process:  No Formal application/interview process

Trainees interested in undertaking Advanced Pain Training approach the Programme Director; the trainees are discussed and placements suggested. There is no formal interview process.

There are two Advanced Pain Training posts in the region; placements are offered to the local trainees on a ‘first come’ basis but we have accepted trainees on inter-deanery secondment.

  • RAPM:  Dr Tiemo Vemmer
  • Posts available per year:  2
  • Advertising: via word of mouth, pain training days and through LPMESs and RAPM
  • Application & Interview process:  No formal application & interview process

Advanced Pain Training is open to all interested trainees although this has been local trainees only to date. If there was interest from trainees in other deaneries, the region could offer Fellowship posts (pre/post CCT) alongside local Advanced Pain Trainees, with necessary QA to maintain standards.

Interested trainees should make themselves known to the RAPM and meet to discuss career intentions in detail. 

Numbers exceeding posts has not been a problem to date, hence no interview. If the number of APT applicants increases across the Yorkshire and Humber deanery, we plan to appoint on a regional basis with the RAPM in Yorkshire.

During Advanced Pain Training there is access to Sheffield Children’s, hospices/cancer pain interventions and the Neuromodulation service.

Click here to read Dr Tiemo Vemmer's article in Transmitter about training in Sheffield and North Trent.

  • RAPM:  Dr G Baranidharan
  • Posts available per year: 2          
  • Advertising:  In region
  • Application & Interview process:   Formal application/interview process

Advanced Pain Training posts are advertised locally and to date, these have been filled by trainees within the region. APT takes place during year six/seven of anaesthetic training. Trainees are advised to speak to the RAPM, TPD, Local Pain Medicine Educational Supervisors and RA in Anaesthetics before applying for the post and should have completed Higher Pain Training before their APT start date. Trainees are asked to submit their CV and informed of the interview process which is arranged by the deanery.

There are two rotations for APT in the Yorkshire and Humber region. One rotation is between Leeds and Bradford (6 months in each) and the other rotation is between Hull and York (6 months each) however, trainees from either rotation can obtain an honorary contract to work/train in any of the above mentioned APT centres.

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