Combined Infection Training Interview ST3/ST4: 2024 Interview
Combined Infection Training 11th April 2024

Combined Infection Training Interview ST3/ST4: 2024 Interview

The combined Infection training specialty recruits at both ST3 and ST4 levels. Combined Infection Training ST3 is a Group 2 training programme, whereas ST4 is categorised within Group 1. However, even though the application process is identical, the specialties require you to submit separate applications.

We have put together a Combined Infection Training ST3/ST4 guide to support you through the application process. The guide covers everything you need to know about the Combined Infection Training interview. This includes the key training dates for 2024, the different interview stations and the level of competition you can expect to face.

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What do I need to know about Combined Infection Training?

Due to its varied nature, Combined Infection Training consists of four infection specialties. You can find the unique contents of each specialty below:

Infectious Diseases

A fascinating and fast-changing specialty, infectious diseases focus on laboratory and clinical skills, meaning doctors have the opportunity to see an extensive range of patients.

As a specialty, infectious diseases include a mixture of in-patient and out-patient work. The in-patient work is based in regional specialist ID Units, requiring doctors to manage patients with a variety of complex conditions. This includes community-acquired infections, TB, HIV, and bone and joint infections. Whereas, out-patient work revolves around travel-related conditions and tropical medicine.

The training programme has been revised recently, with infection trainees now spending two years on a combined infection training (CIT) programme. One year is ID-based, and one is spent attached to the microbiology laboratory and clinical consult rounds. After, trainees will take on another three years of higher specialist training in either ID, general medicine, microbiology or virology.

Medical Microbiology

Medical Microbiology involves all aspects of infection. Once, it was predominantly a laboratory-based role, overseeing diagnostic work, interpreting results and providing telephone advice to clinicians.

However, due to its evolving nature, the specialty has become more diverse. There’s now the opportunity to provide advice on how to control the spread of infection in hospitals and the community, give ward consults about complex or serious infection cases and lead in developing new infection services like outpatient parenteral antibiotic treatment (OPAT).

Medical Microbiology has similarities to Infectious Diseases, and there’s even the possibility of doing dual training across both specialties.

Medical Virology

Medical virologists diagnose and manage patients with viral infections. As a result, the specialty provides an opportunity to work in a mix of laboratory liaison, research, development and teaching.

During the programme, trainees will gain an idea of how to monitor resistance to antiviral drugs, manage respiratory outbreaks and make use of molecular-based tests to provide rapid diagnosis. As well as this, there’s the opportunity to manage patients with chronic viral infections. This includes HIV, hepatitis B and C, and respiratory virus infections.

With the emergence of new viral infections in recent years, the role of a medical virologist is constantly expanding, and medical virology is becoming an increasingly exciting specialty to become involved in.

Tropical Medicine

There are only a small number of posts available in tropical medicine. In ST4, these are linked to general internal medicine and medical microbiology or medical virology, in ST3. Most tropical medicine specialists end up in academic positions, work abroad, or manage the collaboration between UK-based and international tropical centres.

Again, there are similarities to infectious diseases. But, there are the following differences that you should be aware of:

  • Trainees spend at least one year of their ID training at a recognised tropical centre in one of Liverpool or London
  • An extra year of training must be spent working as a clinician at a recognised centre overseas
  • Trainees must complete a face-to-face postgraduate qualification in tropical medicine

Combined Infection Training Key Dates

During the assessment of your Combined Infection Training applications, you will be required to upload evidence. You only have to do this once, during the window of 22 December 2023 to 5 January 2024.

Unlike other specialties, which allow you to book an interview slot, Combined Infection Training allocates a slot for you. This is to allow for the differing interview lengths while also considering the availability of the interviewers. The exact timings will become clearer closer to the time, but you can expect your Combined Infection Training interview to take place between 25 to 28 March 2024.

Combined Infection Training Application

The Combined Infection Training specialty recruits across two levels, ST3 and ST4. This means it contains both Group 1 and 2 programmes. As a result, there are key differences to most other specialties.

Firstly, if you are applying to separate levels, you will need to fill out two application forms. Although, these are identical in appearance, and therefore, the content should be duplicated. Also, both levels recruit through the same interview, dictating the scores for both programmes.

For more information about how the application process works, you can take a look at the ST3 and ST4 2024 Combined Infection Training person specifications.

The difference in levels comes with different eligibility requirements. To be eligible for Group 1 programmes, you must complete three years of internal medicine training (IMT) stage 1 programme or equivalent. Whereas, with Group 2, only the first two years of the IMT are required to be eligible.

Boost your Combined Infection Training application by Training in Teaching

There are two areas of teaching where you can score application points. You can gain points by teaching medical students or healthcare professionals. However, you can also score points by ‘training in teaching’, with up to 3 points available for a teaching qualification. An easy way to score 1 point is to attend a course like the Medibuddy Teach the Teacher Course.

Option Score available Notes
I have been awarded a master’s level teaching qualification 3 This could be full-time over one academic year or part-time over multiple years.
I have a higher qualification in teaching eg PG Cert or PG diploma 2
I have had training in teaching methods which is below the level of a PG Cert or PG Diploma 1 This should be additional to any training received as part of your primary medical qualification
I have had no training in teaching methods 0

Teach the Teacher Course by Medibuddy

This two-day CPD-accredited online course will earn you 12 CPD points on completion. It’s entirely flexible, so you can complete it in two days or multiple sessions over a longer period. On completion of the course, you’ll receive a certificate for your portfolio that is accredited for CCT, interviews and appraisals.

Find out more

Combined Infection Training ST3/ST4 Interview

The Combined Infection Training interview process varies slightly depending on whether you’re eligible for Group 1 programmes in addition to Group 2. There are two stations for ST3 (Group 2), and four questions in total, with each taking around five minutes. When you consider the time between the stations, you can expect the interview for ST3 to last around 30 minutes.

Those interviewing for ST4 (Group 1) programmes face an extra station, which focuses on the medical registrar suitability of applicants. This station takes around ten minutes, meaning the ST4 interview runs closer to 45 minutes.

Station 1 Question 1 – Presentation

The interview’s first question requires you to prepare and deliver a presentation on the following topic:

‘An interesting recent development / research finding, relevant to infection specialties (including infectious diseases, medical microbiology, medical virology or tropical medicine)’

To prepare for the presentation, you should consider the following points:

  • Select a presentation topic that’s relevant to infection specialties, as well as your application.
  • It’s better to choose a topic that you’re knowledgeable about, rather than trying to deliver a complex presentation that you’re not confident in.
  • Your presentation should not go on for longer than three minutes. A discussion will take place at the end of the timeframe, so make sure you get your main points across before then.
  • You are not allowed to use any visual representations like PowerPoint to help with your presentation. But you are allowed to use smaller prompts like cue cards.

Station 1 Question 2 – Suitability & Commitment

This part of the interview focuses on your suitability and commitment towards Combined Infection Training as a specialty. This is your opportunity to build on the information you provided in the application form.

Station 2 Question 1 – Clinical Scenario

As you enter station 2, you’ll be given a clinical scenario to review. The brief will only be a couple of sentences in length. So, the rest of the window is a chance for you to mentally prepare to answer questions on the scenario.

The scenario itself will describe a hypothetical clinical situation in which you have become involved. When you’re preparing to give your thoughts on the clinical scenario, you should think about the following points:

  • Your next steps
  • What potential treatments you would administer
  • How you would communicate with other people in the scenario. This might include patients, family members and colleagues
  • Any further information you would collect

Station 2 Question 2 – Professionalism & Governance

Here, you will be asked a question that revolves around the moral, ethical and legal aspects of a medical situation. Unlike the clinical scenario, you won’t have access to this question beforehand, so you’ll have no time to prepare your answer in advance.

Station 3 Question 1 – Medical Registrar Suitability (Group 1 / ST4 only)

Those applying for a Group 1 programme will explore the non-clinical aspects of being a medical registrar, with a primary focus on two of the Capabilities in Practice (CiPs) from the Internal Medicine Stage 1 Curriculum. These are:

  • Managing an acute unselected take
  • Managing a multi-disciplinary team, including effective discharge planning

Once again, you won’t receive any more information about the question before this part of the interview begins. Instead, the interviewers will prompt a discussion when the previous question finishes. The line of questioning will require you to consider your experience of managing a team caring for acute medical admissions. You should provide examples of your experience to provide further weight to your answers.

Combined Infection Training Interview Scoring

For each interview question, two assessors will independently score your performance. They’ll use a standard scoring metric, providing you with a set of marks based on how you perform against the expected level. You can find the scoring framework below:

Mark Rating Assessment
1 Poor Not considered appointable
2 Area for concern Performed below the expected level of a trainee applying to the specialty. Progression to a higher level training post will depend on performance in other areas
3 Satisfactory Performed to the expected level of a trainee applying to the specialty and suitable for a higher level training post
4 Good Performed above the average level and suitable for a higher level training post
5 Excellent High performing trainee and suitable for a higher level training post

Combined Infection Training Appointability

Like with most specialties, the sum of your separate interview scores will be combined, providing you with a raw interview score (RIS). However, due to the Group 1 and 2 interviews being slightly different, the appointability requirements also differ.

ST4 (Group 1) has five questions, giving you ten interview scores. Therefore, you can expect your RIS to be somewhere between 10 to 50. Before your application to a Group 1 programme can be considered appointable, your results must meet the following criteria:

  • None of your interview scores can be 1/5
  • A maximum of two of your interview scores can be 2/5
  • Your RIS must be 30 or higher

As ST3 (Group 2) interviews don’t include the medical registrar suitability question, your RIS will consist of eight separate scores for the four questions. This means your RIS will be in the range of 8 to 40. For your Group 2 application to be considered appointable and to move on to the next round, you must meet the following points:

  • None of your eight interview scores can be 1/5
  • A maximum of two of your interview scores can be 2/5
  • Your RIS must be 24 or higher

Failing to meet any of the unique criteria means your application will be considered unappointable, hindering you from progressing any further.

Combined Infection Training Competition Ratios

The 2023 competition ratios will give you an insight into what you’re up against in the upcoming recruitment round. In round 2, there were 160 applications for 40 Combined Infection Training ST3 posts. This resulted in a competition ratio of 4.00, meaning four people applied for each post. Combined Infection Training ST4 had a similar ratio, with 88 applications for 21 posts, resulting in a competition ratio of 4.19.

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