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Broad based training FAQs

For further information on any of our past or current work on broad based training, or if your question has not been answered below please contact John-Paul Mattar (Policy Manager).

Broad based training (BBT) is a two-year, structured core training programme providing six-month posts in internal medical training (IMT), general practice, paediatrics and psychiatry. The programme is designed to equip trainees with the skills to work beyond traditional specialty boundaries to provide excellent, patient-focused care for patients with complex, multifactorial healthcare needs. The format of the programme allows trainees to gain both time and confidence in these specialties before progressing to a further career choice, while still gaining GMC training recognition.

All doctors who will be completing or have already successfully completed a Foundation Programme or equivalent are eligible to apply.

Broad based training allows trainees who are not certain about their career choice to experience a range of different specialties before making that important decision.  BBT is a GMC-approved training programme.  On successful completion, trainees can enter one of the four BBT specialties at ST2/CT2 level without a further interview as their skills and training will be recognised by all four colleges.


Please note, entry for higher specialty training in medicine and psychiatry involves further competitive interview following the completion of core training.

When applying for BBT, trainees will be interviewed through the GP application process Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA). If you wish to be considered for any of the individual specialties in their own right, including the general practice training programme, then you will also need to apply to the individual specialty (e.g. GP, paediatrics, psychiatry or medicine) application process separately. If you wish to apply for BBT alone then you will automatically be placed within a GP interview process.

Within each speciality, trainees are encouraged to spend 10% of their time (which equates to one half-day per week or one block of 12-13 days), in a sub-specialty of their choice (and within one of the four BBT themes). This allows trainees the opportunity to broaden their training even further and add to their experience while also seeing a wider view of healthcare.

Assessment will take place via the Annual Review of Competency Progression (ARCP) process. This process will examine trainee progress against the broad based training curriculum.


The BBT curriculum has been developed by the four component colleges of the programme and this has been approved by the GMC. It is made up of five main sections; a common core programme based on the parent specialty’s core competences, and specialty-specific elements from each of the colleges. The latter are based on the specialty curricula.

All trainees will have to take the postgraduate examinations relevant to their future career as they progress in their training. Trainees entering broad based training should bear this in mind as they progress through the programme. However, it must be noted that none of these examinations are a mandatory part of completion of the BBT programme.

Trainees who enter the broad based training programme will have access to study leave days and funding towards events in the same manner as other trainees. There are no mandatory training courses in the broad based training Curriculum but trainees may choose to undertake highly recommended courses in one of the four BBT specialties during their training. The study leave allowance is 30 days in 12 months as described in the relevant Study Leave Guidance and for BBT this will be managed as a maximum of 15 days for any of the 6-month posts. During the six months general practice post, study leave days will be required for attendance at the General Practice Regional Teaching sessions.

You will be asked to consider your options for future training programmes from the Autumn of your second year of BBT. If you choose one of the four specialities included in BBT you will be guaranteed a training place within Northern Ireland or Scotland. If you choose another speciality or another location, you will need to re-apply via the normal national recruitment process.

Everyone who enters the programme will experience a post in all four specialties and it is accepted that some trainees will decide to change their training pathway during the programme. If you decide you wish to leave the programme without completing all posts you will have to apply for specialty training at ST1 level through the usual channels.

Rotations when you start in GP, internal medicine, paediatrics or psychiatry will all be chosen by you and your TPD to complement your prior training and to fit in with what is available. This may be quite different from what trainees require from standard specialty training. The TPD will identify which rotations suit each of the different trainee needs best and arrange a balanced approach to accommodate the trainee needs within what is available.

A discussion will be held between the TPD and the BBT trainees entering GP training to see what they want to do. Some trainees want to avoid hospital jobs they have done in BBT so that they can broaden their experience. Others want to repeat some of the BBT specialties, especially if they are keen to develop an area of special interest. The TPD will try and accommodate these requests within the rotations that are available to them.

BBT trainees should attend all local training events in the specialty they are currently involved in.  They may get invited to national events at the discretion of the local ES/TPD. BBT do have their own national training days.

Broad based training trainees will be eligible to apply for travel expenses for BBT 10% time that takes place in their own Health Board. The HB is not responsible for expenses if the training is undertaken out-with the Health Board. Such training can occur outside the Health Board, but costs of travel/accommodation would be met by the trainee.

Any travel expense that a CT1/ST1 in GP/IM/paediatrics/psychiatry is eligible to apply for, a BBT trainee is also eligible to apply for during the equivalent attachment.

One QI project is required for BBT year 1, and one for BBT year 2. The topic covered can be done on either of the two posts in each year of BBT.