Education and training

There are few posts below specialist registrar (SpR) level in clinical neurophysiology so trainees have little prior knowledge or competency in the specialty. The 4-year training programme has to deliver all of the clinical and technical aspects of neurophysiology, some experience of neurology, and often a research component. Therefore, trainees do not typically train in general internal medicine too. Most training is delivered in regional neuroscience centres. Some out-of-programme experience may be necessary to gain exposure to specialised techniques, for instance in paediatric neurophysiology. There is much to be gained from attachment to smaller units for some training too.

Training in clinical neurophysiology is a combination of experiential and taught, and requires a substantial time commitment by consultants and healthcare scientists. Later, as trainees progress, they need access to recording equipment independently of the trainers, but with the benefit of some contribution to service. Overlap with the training of healthcare scientists may be possible.

Departmental apprenticeship is supplemented by national training days (NTDs) organised three times a year by the Association of Trainees in Clinical Neurophysiology, under the aegis of the British Society for Clinical Neurophysiology (BSCN). These NTDs are held in conjunction with the scientific programme of the BSCN, in which the trainee gains exposure to cutting-edge research and invited lectures by leaders in the field. Every 3 years there is also a 1-week residential course held at Wadham College, Oxford, which covers the whole of clinical neurophysiology. There are also training and scientific meetings of related specialties that trainees are encouraged to attend, depending on their subspecialty interests.

Regional neuroscience centres offer multi-specialty continuing professional development (CPD) programmes in clinical neuroscience, and are usually attended by consultant clinical neurophysiologists from outlying hospitals. Few district general hospitals offer CPD programmes that meet the needs of consultant clinical neurophysiologists.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) has produced a cost of training document setting out the mandatory costs of training involved in college enrolment fees, examination costs and GMC fees. Published in October 2017, it has been compiled to help pre-specialty doctors make fully informed career selections, with a clear understanding of the mandatory costs of their future training pathway.