Rehabilitation Medicine

About the specialty: 

Rehabilitation medicine is the speciality for any doctor who wishes to practice person-centred holistic medicine. Its central concern is to optimise a patient’s engagement socially in line with their values and wishes, their autonomy (ability to make choices about their life), and their freedom from pain and distress. Its attention is focused upon understanding the nature and cause of any disability arising as part of illness.

Rehabilitationsucceeds when undertaken by a multidisciplinary team; the doctor is an important member of the team. The specific roles of a doctor relate to their expert knowledge about (a) disease, its natures, cause, prognosis, and specific management and (b) the process of rehabilitation, which training in rehabilitation gives them. No other profession has specific training in rehabilitation.

The new curriculum, which will be implemented in 2021, emphasises the broad scope of rehabilitation. It applies equally across all ages from birth to death, it applies equally across all diseases and at all stages of any illness, and it applies in all settings from intensive care to the person’s home. Rehabilitation is interested in all aspects of a person’s illness from the direct motor losses through all psychological and practical consequences to the effects on friends, family and others. The training programme reflects this broad scope.

Currently much of a consultant’s work will relate to neurological conditions, including spinal cord injury, to the results of trauma including people with amputation, and to musculoskeletal conditions and chronic pain. Other areas of interest are developing. For example rehabilitation after trauma is growing quite fast, and rehabilitation for people who have had Covid-19 is now becoming vital. Other growth areas include cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation, psychological and functional disorders, delivering rehabilitation outside hospital settings, tele-rehabilitation and the use of technology. Individual consultants, after training, will usually develop more specialised areas of interest.

Entry into rehabilitation training programmes is possible following successful completion of both a foundation programme and one of the following core training programmes:

  • Internal Medicine Training stage one (two years),
  • ACCS-Acute/Internal Medicine (three years),
  • Level 1 Paediatrics training (three years),
  • Core Surgical Training (two years),
  • Core Level Training in Anaesthetics (two years),
  • Core Psychiatry Training (three years),
  • Basic (ST1 and ST2) Obstetrics and Gynaecology training (two years),
  • ST1 and ST2 of Ophthalmic Specialist Training (two years), or
  • completion of a General Practice specialty training programme (three years)
Latest news and developments: 

A new curriculum for Rehabilitation Medicine has been approved by the GMC and will be implemented in August 2021. Doctors in training will need to transfer to the new curricula in August 2021 unless within 12 months of their CCT. Further information and guidance will be published on this page.


The curriculum for each specialty defines the process of training and the competencies needed for the award of a certificate of completion of training (CCT). The curriculum includes the assessment system for measuring trainees’ progress comprising workplace based assessment and knowledge based assessment.

The 2021 curriculum has been approved by the GMC will be implemented in August 2021.

Rehabilitation Medicine 2021 curriculum FINAL

The 2010 curriculum is available below

PDF icon 2010 Rehabilitation Medicine.pdf

Previous versions of the curriculum are no longer available online but copies can be requested from

ARCP Decision Aids: 

The ARCP decision aid for each specialty defines the targets that have to be achieved for a satisfactory ARCP outcome at the end of each training year. ARCP decision aids were revised to reflect the changes to the assessment and review process from August 2014 and replace all previous versions.

PDF icon 2010 Rehabilitation Medicine ARCP Decision Aid

Forms and guidance: 

2017 National Trainee Survey report

The following reports are based on the results of the 2017 National Trainee Survey. For copies of older reports email

PDF icon 2017 NTS Rehabilitation Medicine Generic Indicators.pdf

PDF icon 2017 NTS Rehabilitation Medicine Specialty Specific Questions.pdf