School of Radiology

The NHS England (NHSE) Wessex School of Radiology provides high quality training aligned with the clinical and interventional radiology curricula of the Royal College of Radiologists. We offer a traditional apprenticeship style training adapted to each trainee’s needs under the supervision of experienced trainers.

Our aim is to produce Consultant Radiologists with a sound grasp of imaging fundamentals and broad competency in general radiology along with excellence in particular areas of imaging or intervention. We want our Doctors in Training (DiT) to be able to think their way around clinical problems so that by the time they complete their training they can provide advice and expert opinion/management to referring clinical teams and their patients.

Comprehensive core training comprises 3 years, followed by a minimum further 2 years consolidating and developing general radiology skills alongside an area (or areas) of special interest. The School provides high level training opportunities at ST4-5 across all diagnostic subspecialties and run-through ST4-ST6 training in interventional radiology (IR) and interventional neuroradiology (INR). A competitive local selection process is conducted at ST3 when popular subspecialty posts are oversubscribed.

Training is provided across several Trusts, including University Hospital Southampton, Portsmouth Hospitals University Trust, University Hospitals Dorset (Bournemouth and Poole sites), Southern Health (Lymington), Salisbury District Hospital, Dorchester County Hospital and Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust (Basingstoke and Winchester sites).

Our DiT are assigned to either West or East Wessex during their core training, taking into consideration National recruitment ranking and individual preference. By limiting rotations to East or Wessex we aim to minimise unnecessary travel and support our DiT in choosing a residential base to suit their needs.

Participation in out-of-hours service during core training will be at University Hospital Southampton and one other site, either University Hospitals Dorset (West Wessex rotations), or Portsmouth Hospitals University Trust (East Wessex rotations). From ST4 our DiT may choose to be placed at any Wessex training site or be required to do so to optimise experience in their chosen subspecialty.

Our DiT are well prepared and perform well in the RCR examinations. Regular term-time formal teaching is provided by the South East Imaging Training Academy (SE ITA) on behalf of the Wessex, KSS and Thames Valley Schools of Radiology. During ST1 there is a lecture course covering physics and anatomy for the FRCR part 1 examination followed by an emergency imaging course. Teaching for the ST2/3 years broadly encompasses the core radiology curriculum and supports preparation for the FRCR part 2a examination. A series of sessions delivered during ST4-6 addresses aspects of professional development and knowledge to support application for a substantive post.  

Within Wessex there are annual simulation training days and teaching events provided by experts including visiting RCR professors, in addition to a programme of regular daily and weekly educational activities. Trainers from all over Wessex offer viva practice sessions in the run up to the FRCR 2B, either virtually or in person.

The School supports all facets of career development, including quality improvement and patient safety, audit, teaching, academic and research activity. There are ample opportunities for leadership and management experience and our DiT are actively involved in shaping their training through a robust feedback process and representation at educational committee meetings. The importance of work-life balance to well-being and resilience is recognised and flexible training is supported. Many Wessex radiology DiT take up consultant positions in hospitals in the region while others have been extremely successful in applying for post-CCT fellowships and substantive posts both nationally and internationally.