What is CESR?

In order to work in a substantive consultant post in the UK, doctors must be on the Specialist Register of the UK General Medical Council. 

Specialists who trained both in and outside the EEA or completed a non-European recognised specialist training programme within the EEA can apply to the GMC for a Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) for Intensive Care Medicine. Please note that there is no 'direct entry' onto the GMC Specialist Register for Intensive Care Medicine (as there is for larger specialties such as anaesthesia); even if doctors qualified in the EEA, they must still undertake the CESR process. This is because ICM is only recognised as a standalone specialty in a small number of countries.

An applicant must have their training and experience assessed against the current UK CCT training programme requirements in order to gain a CESR. The process involves submitting a body of evidence of training and/or competence, skills and knowledge to the GMC. Once the GMC has collected what it considers to be a satisfactory range of evidence, it will send the application to the Faculty for consideration. The FICM CESR Sub Committee will assess the application against the most recent GMC-approved curriculum before providing a recommendation to the GMC, who will then make a final decision.

Slide showing the roles and responsibilities of individuals and organisations in the CESR pathway
Roles and responsibilities of individuals and organisations in the CESR pathway

ICM-specific guidance

ICM Specialty Specific Guidance (SSG) has been produced for CESR applications to align with the new ICM Curriculum: Supporting Excellence. The ICM SSG lists all the High Level Learning Outcomes (HiLLOs) of the new ICM curriculum, the expected capability levels and includes suggestions for the kinds of assessments that can be submitted as evidence against each HiLLO, so please use this as the main reference when collating information for your CESR application.

Initial enquiries

CESR procedures are the responsibility of the General Medical Council (GMC). For Initial enquiries and to start your application you must first contact the GMC (not the Faculty). 


Supporting doctors through the CESR process

The GMC has produced a guide is for employers, supervisors or colleagues who have been asked to help with a doctor's CESR application.

The GMC have an online application system that requires you to register prior to making your CESR application. It also has an e-Portfolio functionality to help you collate and organise your evidence. 

The GMC have also published a comprehensive user guide to aide applicants along each step of the online application.

Further Resources

CESR Frequently Asked Questions

A doctor who has obtained the UK CCT or a European recognised EU (EEA) specialist qualification – as they may be automatically entitled to entry onto the Specialist Register. See the GMC website for further information on recognised EU qualifications.

The application is made directly to the GMC. Please see the GMC website for further information on how to apply.

The applicant assembles their CESR application in liaison with the GMC. Once the application is deemed complete by the GMC, it is passed to the respective College or Faculty for assessment. 

For ICM, applications are assessed by the Faculty’s CESR Sub-Committee. A recommendation report is then written and sent to the GMC. It is a recommendation rather than a decision as the GMC do not have to agree with the Faculty’s recommendation and can issue their own decision.

Information can be found in both the Specialty Specific Guidance and Generic Guidance available on the GMC website. Applicants should read this guidance very carefully because it defines the type of evidence applicants should provide to demonstrate their equivalence to a new CCT holder. We would also advise that you read the CCT curriculum documentation and GMP1 guidance.

No. The Faculty can provide advice on the type of evidence required but will not review your application before submission nor provide any indication as to the likely success of the application. Applicants are encouraged to read the specialty specific guidance and generic guidance very carefully before submitting their application to the GMC.

In addition to providing evidence of training and experience, applicants are required to demonstrate possession of an acceptable test of knowledge.

Previously accepted tests of knowledge are the European Diploma for Intensive Care Medicine and the Fellowship of the College of Intensive Care Medicine (FCICM) of Australia and New Zealand. This is not an exhaustive list and other qualifications will be considered as long as sufficient evidence is provided including a validated certificate of completion, with the full details of the curriculum and assessment criteria in force at the time of the award.

If your qualification has not previously been accepted evidence should be provided including a validated certificate of completion, with the full details of the curriculum and assessment criteria in force at the time of the award. This should be in English and validated by the institution.

The Faculty will explain why an applicant has been unsuccessful, the type of evidence required to demonstrate equivalence and if the evidence is not available, what the applicant could do to accumulate the required evidence. You are advised to contact the Faculty with any further questions.

No, the Faculty does not directly arrange training. Applicants in the UK should speak with the Regional Advisor and/or Faculty Tutor for Intensive Care Medicine in their hospital to discuss the options for obtaining the additional training. Applicants can however contact the Faculty to find out whether the proposed additional training is appropriate.

Want to know more?
Visit the GMC's pages about the CESR process.