An infectious disease specialist diagnoses and manages patients with infections, across four possible subspeciality routes:
- Infectious diseases,
- Medical microbiology,
- Medical virology, and
- Tropical medicine.
The Royal Society of Medicine offers a range of events for different medical specialties, including Infectious Disease – see a full list on our Events page>>
Entry Route into Infectious Disease Medicine
Applicants must have completed the two-year Foundation Programme to be eligible to apply for a core training programme. Core training generally involves completing four to six medical placements and acute on-call work, through either:
Job Progression as an Infectious Disease Specialist
Higher speciality training starts at ST3 and applicants should have the full membership of the Royal College of Physicians before applying for an ST3 post. After core training, trainees must complete combined infection training (CIT) which lasts for at least two years, followed by a two-year higher speciality training programme for their specific subspeciality. Most trainees also obtain an MD or PhD during their training.
There are also joint speciality training programmes for Infectious Disease and General Internal Medicine which take at least three years to complete:
- Tropical medicine and GIM over four years,
- Infectious diseases and medical microbiology over three years, and
- Infectious disease and medical virology, also over three years.
Trainees can apply for consultant positions six months before obtaining their CCT, and there are opportunities to work in management as a clinical lead, or a clinical or medical director. There are also formal opportunities to become involved in the education and training of junior doctors by working as
- a director of medical education overseeing postgraduate medical training,
- a training programme director responsible for the education of trainee doctors in the local region, or
- an associate dean responsible for managing the training programme.
Academic Infectious Disease Roles
Trainees can continue the ST clinical training programme after ST4 level, whilst those interested in an academic career can apply for an academic clinical fellowship.
Competition for Infectious Disease Roles
In 2017, the competition ratio at ST3 was 2.0 in the first round, with 104 applications for 53 NTN posts, with 67% of applicants applying for Infectious Disease only. In the second round, the competition ratio was 1.3, with 36 applications for 28 NTN posts.
In December 2017, there were
- 141 consultants,
- 5 associate specialists,
- 6 speciality doctors,
- 1 staff grade,
- 139 speciality registrars,
- 43 core trainees,
- 12 F2 trainees, and
- 24 F1 trainees.
Salaries as an Infectious Disease Specialist
The starting salary for junior doctors in England ranges from £26,614 to £46,208, and from £37,923 to £87,521 for speciality doctors. Consultants can expect to earn between £76,761 and £103,490. There are additional supplements for on-call work, antisocial hours, and other commitments and situations. For additional information, please check our page on pay scales.
A Day in the Life of an Infectious Disease Specialist
Infectious disease is a hospital-based speciality, with most doctors working in large or specialist hospitals, rather than small district general hospitals. Daily clinical work may involve admitting patients, managing those in intensive care units, and running outpatient clinics. Together with their responsibility for their patients, infectious disease specialists provide advice for other specialists whose patients have infectious diseases. Additionally, they will advise on infection control policies and the most effective use of antibiotics, and manage patients with hospital-acquired infections.