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Palliative Medicine

About the specialty

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.

Palliative medicine aims to provide high quality, holistic care to patients and their families. Palliative care is delivered in a variety of settings, including hospices, hospitals and in the community. The management of patients with cancer is a key part of palliative care, however, the role of palliative medicine in caring for patients with non-malignant conditions is increasingly recognised, and is expanding rapidly.  Managing a diverse range of conditions, across a range of settings, is part of the appeal of palliative medicine. Excellent multi-disciplinary team working is fundamental to delivering palliative care. Palliative medicine physicians may be involved in service development, management of hospice units, education and training and research.  Providing care, with emphasis on quality of life for patients and their carers facing a life limiting illness, is one of the most rewarding roles of a doctor. Palliative medicine has one of the highest job satisfaction ratings for doctors in training.

Palliative Medicine training is delivered alongside Internal Medicine stage two training over an indicative four years. Entry into Palliative medicine training is possible following successful completion of both a foundation programme and a core training programme. There are two core training programmes for Palliative Medicine training:

  • Internal Medical Training (IMT)
  • Acute Care Common Stem - Internal Medicine (ACCS-IM)

Latest news and developments

On November 8, 2023, we hosted a webinar providing information and guidance on a career in palliative medicine. You can watch the full recording below.

A new curriculum for dual training in Palliative Medicine and Internal Medicine will be implemented in August 2022. Trainees who entered Palliative Medicine in August 2021 will need to transfer to the new curriculum unless it is not safe or practical for them to do so. Trainees who started training prior to August 2021 can remain on the current curriculum and will not be required to transfer, but will be supported to if it is safe and practical to do so. Please see our transition page for further information. 

A webinar was hosted on 21 June 2022 to provide information for trainers and trainees on the new curriculum. A recording of the session will be availbale shortly however in the meantime please refer to the slides from the day.

On November 22, 2022, we hosted a webinar for Palliative Medicine, you can watch the full recording below.


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. Information on the Specialty Certificate Examination (SCE) in Palliative Medicine can be found on the MRCP(UK) website.

The new curriculum for Palliative Medicine has been approved by the GMC and implemented in August 2022. 

Palliative Medicine 2022 curriculum 

The previous curriculum for Palliative Medicine is available below. Earlier 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. The ARCP decision aid for the new 2022 curriculum is given below.

Palliative Medicine 2022 ARCP Decision Aid

The ARCP decision aid below should be used for trainee remaining on the previous curriculum. 

Palliative Medicine ARCP Decision Aid (September 2015)

Forms and guidance

Palliative Medicine 2022 Rough guide (updated April 2023)


Guidance on transition and gap analysis

It is recommended that a gap analysis is carried out for doctors in training who will transfer to the new curricula and dual train with internal medicine from August 2022. Please see the guidance and form below. A form will be available on the ePortfolio to record the gap analysis after transition to the new curricula, but the form below can be used to prepare prior to August 2022.

New group 1 specialties gap analysis guidance - updated February 2022

New group 1 specialties gap analysis form

Guidance for implementation of Internal Medicine Training during higher specialty training in new Group 1 specialties

Guidance for implementation of IM training in new group 1 specialties

Record of Reflective Practice (RRP)

Trainees and trainers should complete the form by creating a new log on the Reflective Practice section of the ePortfolio. This form can be saved in draft and completed under the trainee or trainer's login. Please note trainees should not file RRPs in the Personal Library. Reflective practice guidance and a copy of the RRP form are provided below





Guidance for trainees in non-palliative medicine specialties



A recuiutment webinar was held on 6 July 2022 and a recording is available below alongside the accompanying slides