Medical oncology



Curriculum - Medical oncology training (2017)

Curriculum - Medical oncology training (2021)

JRCPTB Specialty Overview and Recruitment -





Training Program Director

Dr Joanne Cliff


The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre
CH63 4JY

Tel: 0151 556 5000


General description of the rotation

The Specialty Training Scheme in Medical Oncology is based in Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, which is one of the largest networked cancer centres in the UK. Clatterbridge provides non-surgical cancer treatment for the populations of Merseyside and North Cheshire. Trainees rotate at six monthly intervals through disease specific groups. Trainees are based in the cancer centre but also attend clinics and multidisciplinary team meetings in cancer units in University and District Hospitals in the Merseyside and North Cheshire Cancer Network.


Educational Opportunities

On the Mersey rotation, trainees have a half day per week protected time for education, during which a structured program (organised by the TPD in collaboration with trainees) is delivered. This includes:

  • Introduction to Oncology course – first month of training
  • Weekly lecture/workshop delivered by an internal or external speaker. This covers the clinical and non-clinical aspects of the curriculum in a two year rolling program
  • Bi-weekly Journal club – organised by trainees with consultants attending to facilitate discussion.


Trainees currently also receive training in Cancer Pharmacology, Cancer Cell and Molecular Biology , Genetics and Research Methods/Statistics by distance learning.


Research and Audit

Consultants (both academic and NHS) are active in recruiting patients to clinical trials. Trainees will have the opportunity to see patients treated on a wide range of research protocols and gain experience in clinical research. In addition, there is an Academic Oncology Unit based between the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and the University of Liverpool with funded research fellowships. The majority of trainees develop research projects leading to time out of program working towards a higher degree.


Clatterbridge has an active audit department and trainees are supported in completing 1-2 audits per year. Trainees regularly present the results of audits at local and regional meetings and are encouraged to submit for presentation at national and internal meetings.



Medical oncology trainees help organise teaching sessions for medical students, foundation, GP and CMT trainees in Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. In addition, trainees organise oncology teaching sessions for Foundation trainees throughout the region.




North Western

Training Programme Director

Dr Laura Horsely


Dr Laura Cove-Smith


The Christie Hospital
550 Wilmslow Road
M20 4BX


General Description of the Rotation

The main base for the Medical Oncology training programme in the North Western Deanery is The Christie Hospital, Manchester. The Christie Hospital is the largest stand alone cancer centre in Europe with an international reputation for its cancer care. Placements are undertaken at the Christie and the Royal Preston Hospital or Royal Lancaster Hospital. Placements at the Christie Hospital are within groups focused on specific tumour sites. Each group has its own dedicated research programme/ education programme and service workload. The Christie is a tertiary referral centre and as such trainees will, therefore, see and be trained in seeing complex cancer patients who may require complex therapies.


During their time in Preston Hospital or the Royal Lancaster Hospital tumour site specific and acute oncology experience can be developed.


Educational Opportunities

The North West rotation has a structured educational programme (mandatory) as well as offering a unique educational opportunity as part of the service.


The Structured educational programme, which all trainees are mandated to attend, involves:

  • Biological Basis of Cancer Course (to be completed in the 1st/ 2nd year of training).
  • Biological Basis of Cancer Course Statistics Course (to be completed in the 1st/ 2ndyear of training).
  • Journal Club (once weekly).
  • Trainee away day (bi- monthly).
  • Self learning/ development half days (once weekly) – productivity from this session is measured in the Research/education departmental (with consultants and other team members) half days (6 monthly).


Research Opportunities

The Christie Hospital sits next door to and works closely with the CRUK Manchester Institute and the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (linked to Manchester University). Within this set up, there is are a number of active research groups with regular opportunities to undertake laboratory and translational research projects as MD or PhD. Opportunities to undertake periods of clinical research are also available particularly within the ECMC early phase clinical trials unit.. The Majority of the North West trainees do their PhDs through theses programmes.


Within the rotation, there are many opportunities to do extra non degree grade research projects which the trainees utilise to optimise their academic interests.


The Programme also recruits NIHR ACFs and ACLs for those trainees wanting to become clinical scientists.



In all three sites, the Medical Oncology Departments are very audit active and supported by large audit teams. It is expected that each trainee should do 1-2 audits through the designated audit teams per year.



The trainees work closely with the Christie School of Oncology in promoting and contributing to the education of other groups of health care professionals. There is an active/busy through put of medical students through all three sites. Trainees are expected to contribute to their teaching at a local and regional level. It is also expected that each trainee has had an opportunity to present research or other projects at regional/ national/ international level at least once in their training career.


Further Links

Paterson Institute for Cancer Research


Medical Oncology