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CESR for SAS Grades


At some stage in your SAS career, you might wish to consider applying for CESR (Certificate of Eligibility for the Specialist Register) through the GMC.

The first port of call should be the GMC website to download a copy of the Divider Pack and your Specialty Specific Guidelines for CESR (SSG) which will give you an indication of what equivalent experience you are required to evidence in your CESR application.


It would be helpful to access a copy of the relevant and up to date Curriculum document for your specialty area, as this will clearly detail the range and breadth of competencies you will be expected to achieve or provide evidence of equivalence for. However, do ensure you keep up to date with any curriculum changes as you gather your evidence, as you will need to ensure your CESR application contains all the essential requirements applicable at the time of your submission.

Your relevant specialty Royal College should be able to provide you with specialty specific Curriculum/CESR related advice and guidance. Many Royal Colleges have an appointed person/team who are involved in the CESR process. We also suggest contacting the relevant Training Programme Director (TPD) for your region and your specialty: these individuals usually support trainees but should be able to give you guidance regarding potential gaps in experience etc.


GMC-led CESR Workshops for SAS Doctors

The SAS Development Programme periodically arrange GMC-led CESR workshops, free to attend for Scottish SAS. Representatives from the GMC will be available in person to explain the application process and ask specific questions from delegates. Due to COVID-19 provisions, the SAS Development Programme are unable to run a workshop in spring 2020 as planned; this page will be updated as and when we are able to offer an alternative means of support or to schedule a new workshop date.

Please find below a copy of the presentation used by the GMC at CESR workshops, and a copy of a generic CESR application, which can be used as an example.

GMC CESR presentation (last updated May 2019)

GMC CESR application sample

The GMC have implemented some important changes to the CESR application process, primarily:

  • Evidence can now be filed online through the GMC website over a 12 month period, prior to submitting your application
  • In most cases, letters and documents submitted as evidence should be verified by GMC-provided pro-forma forms signed by a medical supervisor from your work/training location, rather than be stamped and signed on every page (check this page for full requirements for each type of evidence)

Click here to see the latest updates on the CESR application process, regarding ongoing changes to be completed in 2020.

Please email SASDevelopment@nes.scot.nhs.uk to enquire about and register interest in future CESR workshops.


How the SAS Programme can help to support your CESR Application

If you've been unable to obtain specialty specific CESR advice from your Royal College, the SAS Programme will be able to refer you to a Training Programme Director in your specialty area, through its Deanery network.

Our network of SAS Education Advisers in each of the regional Health Boards have all received training on the CESR process from the GMC, and will be able to signpost you to people who can advise you on your specialty requirements.

As a result of being unsuccessful in a previous CESR application or whilst you are preparing a CESR application for submission, it may be necessary for you to undertake a period of additional top-up training, in order to meet any gaps in the competencies required of the Curriculum you are following. SAS funding is limited, and is there to support all SAS across Scotland, so this funding is available to address specific gaps - not for a full training programme. We currently support funding for up to 6 months for this purpose.

The SAS Programme has, to date, already supported a number of SAS Doctors across Scotland in their quest to achieve CESR by providing current salary backfill funding so that they can receive the additional training they require, to further support their CESR application. Some of the applicants the SAS fund has supported have now had their CESR application approved.

In order to be considered for SAS funding for CESR purposes, you will have to apply to the SAS Development Fund providing full details.

SAS Development Fund Application Process

E-Portfolio access by Specialty Information - updated for 2019

We strongly recommend that you keep a record of work done, this is best recorded utilising the same E-Portfolio access for SAS that trainees use. You should aim to ensure that new areas of learned competencies are signed off by a supervisor. This will make gathering evidence for CESR much easier.

You may also be interested in reviewing the August 2020 AoRMC report on ease of access to e-Portfolios by Royal College / Joint Training Board.

Further CESR related Support

CESR: How You Can Succeed

The Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh have made available 8 videos from SAS doctors in England offering their advice on the CESR process, following their own success in applying. These are viewable at this link after registering a RCPE account; registration is free and open to all.

Leadership Development Passport

The Leadership Development Passport has been developed to aid trainees in generating and recording their leadership experience.

The aim of the passport is to provide a framework within which doctors can add their experience and reflections. This will help demonstrate leadership development for job interviews and ARCPs, while also showing the wide range of options available to trainees who wish to develop their leadership skills.

You may also be interested in reviewing this August 2020 AoRMC report on access to Leadership training for SAS doctors and dentsits.

GMC Contacts

The team of advisers at the GMC are extremely helpful and very knowledgeable in the CESR process, and are happy to take email-based enquiries from SAS Doctors. Please email equivalence@gmc-uk.org.

SAS Programme Contact

If you have any further questions with respect to the SAS CESR process and the SAS Development Fund, please email SASDevelopment@nes.scot.nhs.uk.

This page was last updated on: 27.08.2020 at 17.37