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The CREST Form – Everything you need to know

We regularly receive questions about the CREST Form in regards to application for Speciality Training. This blog aims to cover key points that you should know.

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What this Blog Includes:

– What is the CREST Form?
– Who needs to fill out the CREST form?
– Who can sign the CREST form?
– Can I use a previous CREST form?
– Do I need to ensure that all the competences are signed?
– Does my signatory have to witness me for each competency?
– Will the CREST 2021 form be valid for future rounds?
– Do I need to have completed my Advanced Life Support (ALS) training prior to applying?

What is CREST form 2021?

CREST stands for Certificate of Readiness to Enter Speciality Training. This form enables applicants for Speciality Training to demonstrate that they have foundation level competences.

Who needs to fill out a CREST form?

Many International Medical Graduate doctors complete internship in their home country before coming to the UK.

To enter speciality training in the UK, applicants must demonstrate that they have a) achieved foundation level competences and have b) completed accepted clinical experience (usually 24 months in total). By completing the CREST form an applicant (who has the necessary clinical experience) can demonstrate that they have achieved foundation competences and apply directly to speciality training.

The CREST form is NOT for applicants who have:

  • Completed a UK Foundation programme (within last 3.5 years) – you would need to submit a copy of your UKFPCC.
  • Started but not completed a UK foundation training
  • Completed a Foundation Year 2 standalone post

If you are in any of the last two categories then you will need to contact the dean of the foundation programme that you participated in and ask them to complete the Dean Support Pro Forma form https://www.oriel.nhs.uk/Web/ResourceBank/Download?file=b7efe59a-6fea-4983-8744-df5696a09094.docx&name=CREST2020Dean%27sSupport.docx

 Who can sign the CREST form?

Applicants should note that there is strict criteria regarding the completion of CREST forms. Failure to meet any of the criteria can result in the form being rejected and therefore impact the applicant’s chances of applying to UK speciality training.

Guidance states that the following people can sign the form:

  • Consultants
  • General Practitioners (GP)
  • Clinical Directors
  • Medical Superintendents
  • Academic Professors
  • Locum Consultants with a CCT/ CESR

AND they must have worked with you for a minimum continuous period of three months (whole time equivalent) and within the last 3.5 years of the advertised post (job) start date for which you are applying.

If the person signing the form is not registered with the GMC then they will need to provide evidence of their registration with their respective medical regulation body – and if it is not in English, a certified translated copy must be provided.

If they have previously been registered with the GMC, this will not be acceptable as evidence as the person signing will still need to provide evidence of their registration with their current medical regulation authority.

If the required evidence is not provided or is not accompanied by a certified translated copy (if necessary) the application will be rejected.

Please note the signatory cannot be someone with whom you have a close personal relationship.

Can I use a previous CREST form?

Unfortunately for all speciality training applications only the CREST 2021 form will be accepted – CREST 2020 is no longer valid.

Do I need to ensure that all the competences are signed?

Yes, an incomplete CREST 2021 form will not be accepted, as you need to demonstrate you have achieved all the foundation competences to be eligible to apply for speciality training.

Does my signatory have to witness me for each competency?

No, you may wish to ask senior colleagues to observe you for a competency and ask your signatory to rely on their observations as evidence. Please note their contact details and professional status will need to be filled out in the form to demonstrate that they have witnessed you complete a competency. They may also be contacted to verify they have observed you for a specific area. However, this colleague must be a senior colleague e.g. ST5 or above. A non-senior trainee e.g. FY2 or ST1 will not be accepted even if they have witnessed you achieve a specific competency.

Will the CREST 2021 form be valid for future rounds?

Yes, the form remains valid for future rounds – provided that there are no changes to the conditions prior to the new intended start date.

What about Advanced Life Support (ALS) training?

The guidance states that you need to be able to demonstrate ability in cardiac and respiratory arrest management.

Part of this evidence may be an Advanced Life Support Certificate from the Resuscitation Council UK but an equivalent to this certificate will also be accepted provided you can demonstrate the same competency for this area. The guidance clearly states however that an ALS course alone is insufficient – extra evidence may be needed.

Recent emails seen from the GPNRO however have stated that ‘the requirement for ALS has been removed from the person specification and 2021 CREST form’. If in any doubt it is worth contacting the Applications team directly.

How we can help with GP and Specialty Application

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Final thoughts…

I would suggest that you print out the CREST form in advance and read through each competency. This will enable you to plan how to get each section completed and make the most of opportunities when they arise. All the relevant forms can be found on the ORIEL website https://www.oriel.nhs.uk/Web/ResourceBank/Edit/MTA3NA%3D%3D.

If in doubt please check with the relevant recruitment team – eg GPNRO for GP training – to ensure that your form is completed correctly.

About us

Dr Aman Arora is a GP who is now 100% committed to transforming medical education, helping doctors across the globe to ace their exams and enhance their careers. He is proud to hold FRCGP (Fellow of Royal College of General Practitioners). Previous roles include:

  • GP Training Programme Director
  • NHS GP Appraiser
  • GMC PLAB 2 Examiner
  • GP Recruitment Examiner
  • GP Recruitment Question-writer
  • HEWM IMG Board Member
  • HEWM Advanced MRCGP AKT Trainer

Dr Pooja Arora is a GP with a background in Medical Politics, passionately focusing on improving the opportunities and working conditions for junior doctors. Previous roles include:

  • Vice Chair Birmingham LMC
  • BMA Council Member
  • BMA General Practitioners Committee elected representative 
  • BMA Sessional GP Committee elected representative 
  • BMA National Deputy Policy lead for working at scale
  • HEE GP Ambassador
  • HEE GP Stage 3 Assessor
  • RCGP Midland Faculty AiT representative

* Blogs written by Dr Aman and Dr Pooja Arora are not for professional, financial or medical advice. Please seek appropriate professional, legal or financial advice where appropriate *


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