Respiratory physicians manage patients with disorders of the respiratory system.
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Entry Route into Respiratory Medicine
Applicants must have completed the two-year Foundation Programme and will need to complete core training on one of the following pathways:
Job Progression as a Respiratory Medicine 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. ST3 training takes at least four years to complete.
Trainees can undertake dual training in GIM or ICM and Respiratory Medicine by applying for a dual-CCT Programme, and completing at least five years in higher speciality training.
There is no formally recognised respiratory subspeciality, but consultants can develop a special interest in adult cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, lung transplantation, domiciliary non-invasive ventilation, and occupational and environmental lung disease.
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 Respiratory Medicine Roles
Trainees interested in an academic career can apply for an Academic Clinical Fellowship. Alternatively, trainees can continue the ST clinical training programme after ST4 level.
Competition for Respiratory Medicine Posts
In 2017, the competition ratio at ST3 was 1.9 in the first round, with 217 applications for 112 NTN posts and 2 LAT posts, with 44% of applicants applying for Respiratory Medicine only. In the second round, the competition ratio was 2.2, with 73 applications for 32 NTN posts and 1 LAT post.
In December 2017, there were
- 1,009 consultants,
- 13 associate specialists,
- 37 speciality doctors,
- 4 staff grades,
- 601 speciality registrars,
- 326 core trainees,
- 122 F2 trainees, and
- 351 F1 trainees.
Respiratory Specialist Salaries
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 a Respiratory Medicine Specialist
Respiratory Medicine is a busy acute speciality, with daily duties including regular ward rounds, post-take rounds, running outpatient clinics, performing bronchoscopies, and attending multidisciplinary meetings. A respiratory specialist will also run lung function laboratories, supervise non-invasive ventilation for patients with acute type 2 respiratory failure, and work closely with specialists in Intensive Care. Additionally, about 70% of consultants have reported routine on-call weekend work.