International Paediatric Sponsorship Scheme (IPSS) - guidance for Trusts

The IPSS can provide sponsorship for eligible doctors to obtain full registration with the GMC. Doctors entering the UK via this route should be from countries that fall outside the priority nations list for the MTI(p) scheme and posts should contain a sufficient training/educational component. This is a step by step guide for NHS Trusts or Health Boards who wish to host an IPSS sponsored clinician from overseas.
Last modified
8 January 2021

What is IPSS?

Our International Paediatric Sponsorship Scheme (IPSS) allows doctors who meet the eligibility criteria (please see IPSS guidance for applicants) to enter onto the medical register in order to practice in an approved post.

The RCPCH IPSS team quality assures posts to ensure they meet the training/educational and development requirements for sponsored doctors as laid out by the GMC. In addition, we confirm the eligibility and suitability of the candidates themselves seeking registration. For more information on that, please see the IPSS guidance for applicants.

Please note that those who are eligible for the MTI scheme (coming from a priority country as set out by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges) must come through that scheme.

Selection of appointees

The RCPCH requires that appointed doctors have come through a robust, open and competitive selection process.

The RCPCH scheme does not at this time recruit and appoint doctors via the IPSS, and instead acts only as a sponsor to facilitate GMC registration.

Unlike with the MTI scheme, the RCPCH does not help to provide a visa or any means of entering and working in the UK. The Trust must either be able to act as a sponsor for a visa or the doctor must hold some other method of being able to live and work in the UK. This must be confirmed ahead of time.

What posts are suitable?

Doctors obtaining registration via a GMC sponsorship scheme, such as IPSS, must go in to an approved practice setting. This means the post must have a strong training/educational and developmental component.

IPSS cannot sponsor doctors coming into the following type of roles:

  • Private medicine
  • Part time positions
  • Service roles or very heavily service weighted roles
  • Full consultant positions

Before we start

Once a suitable candidate is identified and appointed, they must be provided with a conditional job offer letter. Prior to appointment it is essential that Trusts/Health Boards check our eligibility criteria for IPSS applicants. Where candidates are not found to be eligible, the RCPCH will not be able to take the application for sponsorship forward. Please contact our team on ipss@rcpch.ac.uk if you are in doubt regarding eligibility prior to making a conditional job offer, so as to manage expectations of the candidate.

Please note that proposed start dates should be set at least 4 months from the point at which an application is formally made. Applications can be considerably shorter than this (2-3 months), however this allows for any unforeseen delays during the GMC’s evaluation of the applicants (which is a fixed timescale outside of RCPCH control) or any difficulty in securing the relevant paperwork.

As our sponsorship schemes are self-funded we charge employers £1400 exclusive of VAT for each appointment.

Step 1 – post approval

To begin the IPSS process you will need to contact the IPSS team (ipss@rcpch.ac.uk) with the following documents:

  • A copy of the job description
  • A completed post submission form (download below)

The job description must include the following elements:

  • Details of the post, role, duration, training programme and all development provided
  • Confirmation that an up to six-month period of supervision on the Level 1 rota is mandatory, no matter the candidate’s experience. Doctors can step up sooner if assessed as being competent and ready to do so
  • Clearly outlined training provisions, assessments and appraisal processes
  • Clear details of salary, annual leave and study leave
  • For fellowship programmes and subspecialty specific programmes, details of the subspecialty training programme. This is crucial where the posts offered rotate between paediatrics, neonatology and/or a paediatric sub-specialty
  • Clear description of duties including the on call component and its frequency
  • A copy of the local training programme, a provisional rota and educational programme (desirable)
  • For Trusts supporting research or achieving higher qualifications, an exact statement of what is being provided and whether there is protected time for the same

The provision of training and all elements mentioned in the job description must be met in order to meet GMC requirements for an approved practice setting.

Guidance on salary

It’s required that total funding/remuneration for an IPSS doctor is at least equivalent to the pay received by a local postgraduate trainee at the equivalent level.

  • Previous training experience must be recognised for the purposes of determining the appropriate salary pay point. This is based on circulars for pay issued by NHS employers. This is revised annually and salary increments must be in line with this guidance annually (June 2020 circular.)
  • Trainees who receive home funding, i.e. from their government or home institution, must if necessary have their funding topped up to the appropriate pay point on the junior doctor pay scale.
  • The RCPCH cannot sponsor doctors via IPSS if they are hired on an honorary basis with home funding that does not meet the minimum standards laid out here and is not topped up as per the above.
  • Pay arrangements must be accurate and clearly laid out in advance.
  • In the event of any dispute where a candidate is found not to be paid or remunerated at the appropriate pay scale, the candidate is at liberty to resign from said placement after having provided sufficient notice.

Key documents for Step 1

  • Job description
  • IPSS post submission form (download below)
  • Appointed doctor’s CV with full dated working history and all postgraduate qualifications listed
  • Appointed doctor’s English language test results – IELTS Academic or OET Medicine – meeting the minimum scores as outlined in our eligibility criteria.

Step 2 – Applicant and Trust document packs sent out

Once an eligible candidate is identified and offered an approved post, we issue the candidate with a candidate pack to complete and return to the RCPCH.

At the same time, Trusts will need to complete their own Trust pack. This comprises the following documents:

  • Interview notes
  • Conditional job offer letter
  • IPSS administrative fee contract

These must be submitted along with the entire applicant pack (see applicant guide) in order for the application to progress.

Step 3 – Application processing and review

Once applicant and Trust/Health Board paperwork is submitted, the application will be reviewed in full by the IPSS team.

Provided everything is satisfactory, we will then issue a letter confirming sponsorship. We will support the sponsored doctor to apply to the GMC (General Medical Council) via our sponsorship pathway.

As part of their own checks, the GMC will request that the applicant arranges for their sponsor to provide a certificate of sponsorship. As sponsor, the RCPCH will therefore send this to the GMC directly, at the applicant’s request. Please note, this is not to be confused with the similarly named certificates of sponsorship that are used for visa applications.

Once the GMC provide an invitation to attend an identity check, this concludes the application for sponsorship. Please note that all GMC applications are subject to their own thorough checks and an offer of sponsorship from the College may, in very rare instances, nonetheless not guarantee entry onto the medical register at that time. Applicants and the GMC may share confidential information that should not be shared with RCPCH unless we are invited to act as an authorised third party in select situations.

Entry into the UK

The sponsored doctor can now make arrangements to enter the United Kingdom either via a Tier 2 visa provided by their NHS employer, or through other means that they might organise.

We encourage IPSS sponsored doctors to get set up on RCPCH ePortfolio so that they can log their training in the UK, using the same platform as UK trainees. This can be accessed by signing up as an Associate Member of the College.

There should be an initial meeting with the dedicated educational supervisor to discuss educational goals, which should be put up on the doctor’s ePortfolio so progress towards this can be tracked and evaluated. Regular subsequent meetings should be made to discuss educational goals and record progress on ePortfolio.

It’s very important that the training/educational aspect of the role is adhered to, as laid out in the job description provided to RCPCH. If this cannot be done the RCPCH should, as the professional sponsor of the doctor, be informed as soon as possible. If there are instances of Trusts using the scheme to host doctors who work in a service capacity only, the RCPCH reserves the right to suspend working with these centres until the situation improves.

When the doctor leaves their post

The RCPCH should be informed by email (ipss@rcpch.ac.uk) when IPSS sponsored doctors leave their post, particularly if this is within the first year, as we consider this the minimum length of placements for doctors coming into sponsored approved settings.