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Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration

The Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration is an alternative certification of competence and a route to joining the GMC’s specialist register, in order to practice as a consultant in the NHS.

Changes to CESR standards of assessment


From Thursday 30 November 2023, the standard that CESR applications are assessed against will change from equivalence to CCT to Knowledge, Skills and Experience (KSE), required for practising as an eligible specialist in the United Kingdom. From that point on, CESR/CEGPR will be renamed the Portfolio Pathway to reflect these changes.

These changes are NOT related to the curriculum 2024. The specialty specific guidance (SSG) for curriculum 2024 is currently being written.

Please be assured that the outcome of a successful Portfolio Pathway application is to be added to the Specialist Register to work as a consultant in the UK. It is not ‘equivalent’ to CCT, purely because the Portfolio Pathway will have its own set of standards.

  • Applications submitted before Thursday 30 November 2023 will be assessed using the current standard and specialty specific guidance.
  • Applications submitted on or after Thursday 30 November 2023 will be assessed using the new standard with revised speciality specific guidance.

New guidance

If you are thinking of applying via the Portfolio route after the start date of 30 November 2023 you should review the finalised SSG: sat—ssg—ophthalmology—kse_pdf-103434336.pdf (gmc-uk.org)

The curriculum and key skills have not and will not change, the main changes are in the way evidence is presented. The new guidance has more flexibility built in to allow applicants to demonstrate their skills in a different way.

There are many areas of the curriculum which remain unchanged where you will need to submit work place-based assessments such as CbD’s, DOPS and OSATS. However, there are now quite a few learning outcomes where you can provide non-work place based assessment evidence. Full details are in the SSG.

Advice for applications after 30 November 2023

At this stage, the College asks that you do not rush your application through before Thursday 30 November 2023 if you are not ready to do so. Ultimately, if you rush, evidence that is listed currently may not be fulfilled appropriately; it will not be successful anyway and will just prolong the process unnecessarily.

Pay attention to the key skills and how your evidence meets these, the assessors do not work with you and can only make a judgement based on the evidence submitted. You should draw their attention to how that piece of evidence meets the key skill. E.g. make it clear what learning outcome it relates to.

Please refer to this new guidance document as you continue to amass your evidence so you are fully prepared for the transition, particularly if you know you will be submitting after Thursday 30 November 2023.

For any questions at all during this transition period, please contact the College’s CESR Manager: [email protected]


CESR and Curriculum 2024

This statement has been developed to assist current CESR applicants and those who are considering their application in light of the introduction of the new curriculum (Curriculum 2024). The statement has been reviewed and approved by the GMC.

RCOphth CESR Guidance

We have produced a range of RCOphth resources to support your application for CESR. We urge anyone thinking of making an application to read the guidance available here and on the GMC’s website. Applications can fail on the lack of evidence presented; attention to detail is the most important part of a successful application.

OST Curriculum

Assessment of your suitability for specialist registration is made against the OST Curriculum’s Learning Outcomes. These are the competencies you need to demonstrate to successfully be awarded the CESR.

Frequently Asked Questions

This document gives an overview of the application process and answers some of the most frequently asked questions.

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RCOphth Education

Education in Ophthalmology is the development of knowledge, practical skills and professional competencies, and this includes personal and professional development.

Find out more