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FY2 UK --> NZ (training position competitiveness)

Bonesaw

Member
Hi there,

Let me start by saying i'm an NZ citizen and I intend to head there after FY2, I'm very interested in NSGY and I was just curious as to how competitive it is to actually get a training position? I've seen the # of applicants for said positions etc but I would love some real world accounts of people trying to get into these types of positions and the actual length of time it took. I've heard it can be up to 5 extra years for ST1 positions?

Any stories would be greatly appreciated.

Oh and for the record I have a ton of family members who are consultants in NZ so I have contacts as well which I assume can make a big difference.

Edit: Current final year UK student

Thanks a lot :)
 
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Perplex

Emeritus Staff
Emeritus Staff
Hi there,

Let me start by saying i'm an NZ citizen and I intend to head there after FY2, I'm very interested in NSGY and I was just curious as to how competitive it is to actually get a training position? I've seen the # of applicants for said positions etc but I would love some real world accounts of people trying to get into these types of positions and the actual length of time it took. I've heard it can be up to 5 extra years for ST1 positions?

Any stories would be greatly appreciated.

Oh and for the record I have a ton of family members who are consultants in NZ so I have contacts as well which I assume can make a big difference.

Thanks a lot :)
I think you'll find it difficult to get first hand accounts on this site - many of the users are high school students wanting to enter medicine, or those currently in medical school. We have few doctors on this site, and fewer that are surgically inclined who are actively using the forum. So, unfortunately you may not be able to get some experience!

There's no hard and fast rules about getting in - but like anything surgical, it's competitive.
It's worth looking into the RACS site to see what the criteria are and what they look for in the application, that should help orient you a little bit.
Hope that helped.
 

Bonesaw

Member
I think you'll find it difficult to get first hand accounts on this site - many of the users are high school students wanting to enter medicine, or those currently in medical school. We have few doctors on this site, and fewer that are surgically inclined who are actively using the forum. So, unfortunately you may not be able to get some experience!

There's no hard and fast rules about getting in - but like anything surgical, it's competitive.
It's worth looking into the RACS site to see what the criteria are and what they look for in the application, that should help orient you a little bit.
Hope that helped.
Oh that's a bit of a shame. Thanks a lot though :)
 
I’m guessing you want neurosurg? No NZ applicants have got onto the training program for 8 years. it has been multiple years since any NZ applicants have even interviewed. So very competitive. Many move to Australia to try increase their chance (however that may be)
 

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Bonesaw

Member
I’m guessing you want neurosurg? No NZ applicants have got onto the training program for 8 years. it has been multiple years since any NZ applicants have even interviewed. So very competitive. Many move to Australia to try increase their chance (however that may be)
This is interesting I found an article that 13% of training spots (could just be interviews can't remember) in the last 6 years were from NZ (can't remember exact percentage) or something along those lines. I have read a few articles that NZ is short of Neurosurgeons and they're thinking of increasing the number of training spots (Dunedin was one example) so hopefully that does come to fruition.

Any idea on why NZ interns aren't getting into it? I would imagine that Australians probably make up ~80% if not more of the applicants each year which itself could explain it but is there something else i'm overlooking?

I was originally trying to match to NSGY in the USA but because of personal reasons that's not an option anymore sadly. My chances if I stay in the UK are much higher I believe 1/13 or so get in however I imagine Nepotism is huge and could potentially act as a gatekeeper.

Thanks for the heads up
 

LMG!

Moderator
Staff Member of the Year 2019
This is interesting I found an article that 13% of training spots (could just be interviews can't remember) in the last 6 years were from NZ (can't remember exact percentage) or something along those lines. I have read a few articles that NZ is short of Neurosurgeons and they're thinking of increasing the number of training spots (Dunedin was one example) so hopefully that does come to fruition.

Any idea on why NZ interns aren't getting into it? I would imagine that Australians probably make up ~80% if not more of the applicants each year which itself could explain it but is there something else i'm overlooking?

I was originally trying to match to NSGY in the USA but because of personal reasons that's not an option anymore sadly. My chances if I stay in the UK are much higher I believe 1/13 or so get in however I imagine Nepotism is huge and could potentially act as a gatekeeper.

Thanks for the heads up
I can’t comment on anything official, but I vaguely remember a general chat with someone last week who said no NZ neurosurg or paeds surg trainees in the last ~5 years, so yeah, the 13% could well refer to interviews.
 

Bonesaw

Member
I can’t comment on anything official, but I vaguely remember a general chat with someone last week who said no NZ neurosurg or paeds surg trainees in the last ~5 years, so yeah, the 13% could well refer to interviews.
Well things are looking rather bleak for me then.

In that case I'd love some advice; I'd love to work in NZ/Aus eventually but which path would give me the greatest/smoothest route to Neurosurg. I have two options, head to the USA and complete a Gen surg or vascular surg residency and then slot into the hierarchy back home or complete FY2 in the UK and then return home. (If I went the UK route i'd pick Neurosurgery, Ortho and maybe rads as my 3 areas - I want to end up in spine)

I have looked at the general progression pathway for medical graduates but I don't know where I would stand as a vascular surgeon who wishes to re-train in Neurosurg, would I come in then as a SHO aka the equivalent as if I just competed FY2 in the UK? Could I still practice vascular surg on the side while training for Neuro if the hours permit?

Any advice or recommendations are greatly appreciated.
 

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chinaski

Regular Member
I wouldn't refer to a newly fellowed vascular surgeon who wanted to dabble around moonlighting until they got a job somewhere else. I'd refer to the new fellow who was working full time with every intention of honing their skills and remaining in the field.

...And that's not even mentioning the issues of feasibility in juggling neurosurgical training with work as a surgeon in another field...
 

Bonesaw

Member
Edit: No need to answer I just found that they do indeed take prior training into consideration, potentially allowing entry to SET2+

Thanks a lot everyone
 
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rustyedges

Moderator
Moderator
If you wanted to do spine in NZ, the 'easiest' route would be getting a house officer job in NZ at either PGY2 or 3 for a year or two, becoming a non-training ortho reg (for which there are plenty of jobs), and working for about 4-5 years until you got an ortho training position, then trying to get a spine fellowship somewhere after training.
 

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Bonesaw

Member
If you wanted to do spine in NZ, the 'easiest' route would be getting a house officer job in NZ at either PGY2 or 3 for a year or two, becoming a non-training ortho reg (for which there are plenty of jobs), and working for about 4-5 years until you got an ortho training position, then trying to get a spine fellowship somewhere after training.
When I originally entered med school I planned on Ortho but after all my placements and assisting a few times almost every surgeon said Neuro was the way to go and so i've been focused on that ever since; research wise and coming in off hours to observe as many Neurosurgeries as possible.

How feasible is a non-training Neurosurgery position? In Aus or NZ, basically all my research is Neurology based.

Thanks a lot for this info, I had no idea; I assumed Ortho was just as competitive as Neurosurg (purely based off the fact it is in the USA where I intended on originally practicing). I'll have a look at what job vacancies I can find for both, if there's a website you're aware of which just lists everything for NZ and Aus could you please link it otherwise thanks a lot.

Cheers
 

rustyedges

Moderator
Moderator
How feasible is a non-training Neurosurgery position?
Quite feasible in NZ, given given they are needed in all the centres with neurosurgery, and it's not exactly a popular job. But getting onto training would be a far bigger hurdle.
 

Bonesaw

Member
Quite feasible in NZ, given given they are needed in all the centres with neurosurgery, and it's not exactly a popular job. But getting onto training would be a far bigger hurdle.
Oh well that's relatively good news I guess. If possible could you elaborate a bit on the difference in day-to-day job between a training and non-training say Neurosurgery position? Would I get to operate at all or just imaging interpretation/clerking etc.

Edit: I just read an article and I don't really understand the concept of unaccredited training positions; they do basically exactly the same thing as people who acquired a training position (maybe they're a bit further back in the queue for procedures etc) but it doesn't count towards their specialty training? They also aren't protected by the *Insert specialty* society. How can you be performing surgeries to a high standard for say 4-5 years and not gain entrance? Is it purely Nepotism? Why not just convert them to training positions and keep the attainment of consultant extremely competitive?

Thanks a lot for your replies btw, they're very helpful.
 
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lordgarlic

MSO Kiwi #1
Emeritus Staff
Oh well that's relatively good news I guess. If possible could you elaborate a bit on the difference in day-to-day job between a training and non-training say Neurosurgery position? Would I get to operate at all or just imaging interpretation/clerking etc.

Edit: I just read an article and I don't really understand the concept of unaccredited training positions; they do basically exactly the same thing as people who acquired a training position (maybe they're a bit further back in the queue for procedures etc) but it doesn't count towards their specialty training? They also aren't protected by the *Insert specialty* society. How can you be performing surgeries to a high standard for say 4-5 years and not gain entrance? Is it purely Nepotism? Why not just convert them to training positions and keep the attainment of consultant extremely competitive?

Thanks a lot for your replies btw, they're very helpful.
It's not purely nepotism. Unaccredited positions are basically the norm for all surgical training due to the competitive nature of getting onto SET. Unaccredited positions allow you to start accumulating surgical experience, research experience and make some connections before you apply to SET. So it isn't exactly a futile process.

There is no point to make becoming a consultant an 'extremely competitive' process because training a registrar requires a lot of time, energy and effort. No one wants to train a registrar who can't get to the end of the training because you want to limit people coming out the other end instead.

Also back to your original post, having 'contacts' doesn't make any difference what so ever especially in a binational selection process. The reality is that people who has 5+ years of unaccredited training posts will likely rank ahead of someone who is at the end of F2 because they have dedicated their life to the process.

As to why no one is getting into neurosurgery, my personal opinion is that it's a terrible specialty. You're constantly on call and it's nothing short of exhausting. One thing I've learn is whatever seems 'good' or 'great' in medical school, usually doesn't end up the case when you get into the real working world

Finally, a word of advice from someone who selects junior doctors onto specialty training - just because someone tells you that you should do it (e.g. neurosurg), it doesn't always mean it's the best thing for you. It's useful to actually have an open mind in PGY1/2 and dabble around to see what else takes your fancy. Registrars I work with who are (a) miserable or (b) burn out, persist through unhappy choices because "I've always wanted to do it". Changing and reflecting is a sign of strength
 

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chinaski

Regular Member
As to why no one is getting into neurosurgery, my personal opinion is that it's a terrible specialty. You're constantly on call and it's nothing short of exhausting. One thing I've learn is whatever seems 'good' or 'great' in medical school, usually doesn't end up the case when you get into the real working world
That would imply no-one is getting onto the programme because no-one is applying for it. However, statistics would suggest there are more applicants than places available. I agree that surgical training is a hard slog and it personally wouldn't appeal to me, either - but there's no paucity of people who are keen on that specialty and who have no other choice than to thrash through training to get to the end goal.
 

lordgarlic

MSO Kiwi #1
Emeritus Staff
That would imply no-one is getting onto the programme because no-one is applying for it. However, statistics would suggest there are more applicants than places available. I agree that surgical training is a hard slog and it personally wouldn't appeal to me, either - but there's no paucity of people who are keen on that specialty and who have no other choice than to thrash through training to get to the end goal.
ok, no one is perhaps an exaggeration.....I'll rephrase to "small numbers" since I think compared to other surgical specialties like ortho/general etc. there are much less applicants I believe (though I can't find the 2019 SET numbers so I'm going anecdotally here)
 

chinaski

Regular Member
I think the OP was suggesting there was a disproportionately small fraction of candidates in NZ was getting onto the programme (implying that successful candidates are more likely to be in Australia). I don't know if that's true or not, but if so, it might suggest an inherent disadvantage for NZ applicants. Also, it would be more informative to look at the applicant-to-place ratio rather than number of applicants overall.
 
Hi there,

Let me start by saying i'm an NZ citizen and I intend to head there after FY2, I'm very interested in NSGY and I was just curious as to how competitive it is to actually get a training position? I've seen the # of applicants for said positions etc but I would love some real world accounts of people trying to get into these types of positions and the actual length of time it took. I've heard it can be up to 5 extra years for ST1 positions?

Any stories would be greatly appreciated.

Oh and for the record I have a ton of family members who are consultants in NZ so I have contacts as well which I assume can make a big difference.

Edit: Current final year UK student

Thanks a lot :)
Hi Bonesaw, just curious if there're any reasons you are not considering pursuing Neurosurgery in UK apart from having family in NZ? I understand that the working conditions in NHS and pay are poor but you can apply directly to the program after FY2 and most people get in, or after a year of non-training position, as opposed to the Australian system where there's no guarantee after years of unaccredited work. Also especially now overseas graduates are considered equally to locals in UK. Asking because I'm considering going to UK to do FY2 and apply for their program after intern year. Would be helpful to know your thoughts :)
 

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