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Table 1 Selection processes to surgical training programs in EU (refences in Additional file 2)

From: Different approaches to selection of surgical trainees in the European Union

Country Announcement of positions Selection process Decision authority Selection control
Austria (1–3) Hospital
Publicly advertised tenders are open all year round, based on the needs and availability in various hospitals or medical centers.
Direct application for the desired residency program to the chosen hospital.
Traditional job application and interview, Motivation letter, CV, Copy of degree.
Head of department decide after interview.
Belgium (personal communication, Oct 2, 2017) (4) University
Application to University Hospital
Intake once/year
1. Send cv and cover letter to dean of faculty of medicine
2. Apply for & pass selection test
Undergraduate medical education entry test “ test d’orientation “.
3. Local recruitment in seven medical faculties, however in a similar way. Selection based on results from medical school, results from surgical internship and research equals 75% and the interview 25%.
7 university
Croatia (5–7) Hospital
public tenders published by different
The selection of the resident to the specialization is determined by an interview and based on a number of criteria (interview score, grade average, participation in additional training or publications during and post-graduation, etc.) Local
If approved by the Ministry the applicants can choose the institution where they would like to practice the training.
Czech Republic (personal communication, Oct 5, 2017) (8) Hospital
Local advertisement
Traditional job application and interview, Motivation letter, CV, Copy of degree.
Head of department decide after interview.
Due to lack of applicants almost everyone gets accepted/ Lack of applicants leading to “almost no selection criteria”.
Germany (9, 10) Hospital
Local/Individual advertisement at hospital website
Local application directives.
Traditional job application and interview; Motivation letter, CV, Copy of degree.
Head of department decide after interview.
Greece (11, 12) Hospital
Regional advertisement at local authority for public health website
There are no specific application deadlines for applying for a training position. The procedure works on a “first come, first served” basis, that means that priority is given to an individual only according to the date of submission of their applications Local
Hungary (13, 14) National annual decision on regional needs.
University application (4 universities)
Applicants are ranked according to points, which are comprised of the following: average of the comprehensive examination results and the exam results of specific profession-specific subjects (as semester points), the various scientific and language examination achievements (as additional points), and the points determined over the course of the personal interview. The University may repeat its call for applications to fill the unfilled positions. University
Latvia (15) University application yearly Application for maximum 2 specialties, ranking order.
Motivation letter, recommendations, diploma, scientific work in last 7 years, certificates for PGT, CV and an interview are evaluated.
Lithuania (16, 17) Local
Once yearly
Selection via one of the two universities according to a calculated score. University
Luxembourg (personal communication, Oct 20, 2017) Local
Based on recommendations from university and interview. Local
Sweden (18) Local
Locum position or
Individual advertisement at hospital website
See Table 2 for details. Local
Denmark (19–21) Hybrid advertisement Regional application for main trainee years in one of three regions. The regions have different selection processes where some use structured interviews and some Multiple Mini Interviews. Interview is mostly weighted as selection criteria. Regional
Netherlands (personal communication, Oct 3, 2017) National Applicants choose to apply for two of eight regions. The regions program directors paper select which candidates to interview. No formal guidelines for selection. By tradition:
Faculty interview or two separate interviews (multiple). Clinical performance, scientific achievements, social involvement, sport or music is valued.
Bulgaria (22) National University Application Obligatory examination process. University Centralized
Cyprus (23) National
Once yearly
Written examination, one for surgical specialties and one for non-surgical. For those succeeding, an oral examination follows. Accredited hospitals, by Ministry of health in Greece
Estonia (24) University/national
Once yearly
Obligatory entrance examination. University
Finland (25, 26) Application via university
Application periods 2/year
Maximum 3 specialities or same speciality at 3 different universities.
Clear criteria statement in application advertisement. A maximum of 20 points can be obtained (Work experience (10p), scientific experience (8p) and priority (2p))
Structured interviews by at least 2 interviewees is conducted with 2–3 applicants per position.
France (27, 28) National
Once yearly
National ranking examination after which the students nominate their specialty of interest and geographical considerations. National matching process based on the previous. University
Ireland (29, 30) National
Once yearly
See Table 2 for details. University
Italy (31) National
Once yearly
Obligatory entrance examination
A single national ranking based on the exam.
Malta (personal communication, Oct 22, 2017) (32) National Only one teaching hospital for surgical training. Selection based on a structured interview and research is given extra points. Hospital
Poland (personal communication, Oct 24, 2017) (33) National National guidelines for selection, 90% weighing from a national post-graduation exam and 10% from an interview. Due to few applicants, everyone gets accepted. University
Portugal (34–36) National
Once yearly
Examination will rank you at the national level according to your exam mark (80%) and your medical school grade (20%), and thus your position in the competition for training posts. After the exam, the candidates start their foundation year in January.
Since 2016, the available training positions are not enough for all the candidates.
Romania (37) National National exam leading to ranking of applicants who then choose their preferred specialisation. University/ University accredited Hospitals
Slovenia (38) National advertising twice a year Public advertising twice a year from the Medical Chamber of Slovenia. Interview committee; National coordinator, Medical Chamber representative, Representative from region.
Selection criteria:
interview scores (35 p),
University average grade (35 p),
letters of recommendation (30p).
Accredited Hospitals. Payment by national healthcare insurance company or self-funded
Spain (39) (personal communication, Oct 19, 2017) National Ranking of candidates based on:
Knowledge test weights 90%
Academic grade medical school 10%
Highest rank get to choose speciality and location first.
Accredited Hospitals
UK (40–43) National advertisement The intake to the 2 year common Foundation programme is co-ordinated by its own institution that is shared between the agencies in England, Scotland, Wales and northern Ireland: United Kingdom Foundation Programme Office.
For selection to Core Surgical Training: a structured interview process, including a formal application, preparation of a portfolio of surgical and medical experience, and progression through a number of structured interview stations. Extensive guidelines exists. Portfolio 34%
Management 33%
Clinical 33%
All eligible are guaranteed interview, which is conducted in three parts; management station, portfolio station and clinical scenario station. There is a cut-off score for the summarized interview score and also a possibility of receiving “unsuccessful ticks” during the interview, those below the cut-off or with too many unsuccessful ticks will not be ranked. From the successful candidates there will be a national ranking and the applicants choose their preferred program.
  1. Excluded: Slovakia