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Palliative Care Medicine

Palliative Care Medicine involves the care of patients with a terminal illness – from supporting them through earlier stages of their illness, to seeking active treatments, and providing end of life care.

The Royal Society of Medicine offers a range of events for different medical specialties, including Palliative Care – see a full list on our Events page>>


Entry Route into Palliative Care Medicine

Applicants must have completed the two-year Foundation Programme.  After that they need to complete core training on one of following pathways:

Higher speciality training starts at ST3 and trainees should have the full membership of the Royal College of Physicians before applying for an ST3 post. Doctors from training pathways, such as General Practice or Emergency Medicine, can apply for higher speciality training at ST3.

Job Progression through End of Life Care

There is the opportunity to work on developing strategies for improving end of life care services both locally and nationally, but limited opportunities to work in academic medicine – with these roles still involving some clinical work.

Competition for Palliative Care Posts

In 2017, the competition ratio at ST3 was 1.9 in the first round, with 238 applications for 125 NTN posts, with 24% of applicants applying for AIM only. In the second round, the competition ratio was 1.4, with 95 applications for 68 NTN posts.

In December 2017, there were

Salaries in End of Life Care

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.

Working in End of Life Care

Consultants are contracted to work 10 programmed activities, including up to two-and-a-half supporting professional activities a week. Around two-thirds of the time is spent on clinical work, including assessing patients in hospital or at their home, ward rounds, and outpatient care, but the range of work varies depending on how the local service is constructed. There is also at least one formal multidisciplinary team meeting each week.

Non-clinical activities include personal development, audit, quality improvement, education, and research, with over 65% of consultants reporting weekend on-call work. This may involve clinical care of inpatients at a hospice or providing advice and support to other teams in both hospital and community settings.

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