Hi, I am Chaitali, an Indian IMG in the NHS currently working as a Junior Clinical Fellow in Neonatology. In my blog post, I will guide you through the process of signing the CREST form.
What is the CREST form?
CREST stands out for Certificate of Readiness to Enter Specialty Training. Please read more about the CREST form on the Health Education England website. Also, Scotland Deanery has provided some very useful scenarios to give you a better understanding of the CREST form who needs to sign it and how to do this.
Who needs it?
Any IMG or any doctor who has not done the UK FY2 Foundation Programme but wants to apply for a training programme in the UK needs this form. This is not exactly the equivalent of the FY2 Foundation competencies certificate, but this form is compulsory for all training applications.
'To be able to apply to Specialty/GP training doctors must demonstrate that they have achieved Foundation competencies. Completing a UK Foundation Programme and being in possession of an FPCC provide this evidence. Many applicants wish to apply to specialty training who are not in possession of an FPCC for a variety of reasons. The following scenarios will provide guidance as to how to demonstrate this.' - Scotland Deanery
Each year the new CREST form is released with possible new updates which may vary depending on different circumstances, for example, the recent pandemic situation all over the world. Always use the latest version of the CREST form, otherwise, it may not be accepted.
Who can sign the CREST form?
As mentioned on the Health Education England website, 'consultants are only eligible to sign this certificate if they have worked with you for a minimum continuous period of three months whole-time equivalent wholly within the 3.5 years prior to the advertised post start date for which you are applying.'
Consultants from back home can also sign this form, but recently It has been advised that if someone worked more than 3 months in the UK, the crest has to be signed by a UK consultant.
Tips to get your CREST form signed
If your plan is to apply for any speciality training in the UK, you will need to do some planning in terms of signing your CREST form. Here are some tips for you on what you should focus on right after joining the NHS:
Try to meet the Educational Supervisor (ES) within the first 2 weeks of joining the NHS and discuss the CREST form during the first meeting. Make a plan with your ES about how they want you to proceed to achieve all point-based competencies of the CREST form.
Contact the Academic team to get your free Horus e-portfolio and try to work on it from the first month of joining the NHS. There are many other types of portfolios that would cost you a fee and are speciality-based. For example, the paediatrics teams would use KAIZEN. The educational supervisor can help to advise exactly what kind of portfolio you should have.
Collect all your medical experience certificates, letters, logbooks regarding all details of each of your rotations or job in the NHS. This will include any procedures, minor OT, any resuscitations, blue calls, everything that you have done since you have started working in the NHS.
Make a folder or organizer where you can collect all important documents, links, emails and addresses, for example, undergraduate/postgraduate hospital emails, official phone numbers, if possible all your workplace official emails or consultant contact details (emails, contact numbers for future references).
Check all points of the CREST form and accordingly fill out your e-portfolio as you go. Do not leave this until the very last moment. It is much easier to take your time to do this right.
Is it difficult to get the CREST form signed?
Absolutely not with proper planning.
In most of the adult medicine, surgical specialities, A&E departments, it is easy to get competency signed and consultants are happy to help you, although it may vary as per individual person performance.
In the case of other specialities like paediatrics, psychiatry, more organized planning may be needed to get the CREST form signed. For example, for competencies such Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) or DNAR, you can do one week of shadowing in any adult medical unit and get those competencies signed off.
PLAN - EXECUTE - GET CREST SIGNED - APPLY FOR TRAINING
I hope this blog was helpful.
If you have any questions about the CREST form, I would be happy to answer them at trewlink.com.
Written by Dr Chaitali
Edited by Dr Julia