Breast clinicians - credential in breast disease management

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Please see our advice for credential trainees and supervisors

Logo of the Association of Breast CliniciansWhat's happening


In response to the current workforce crisis that is affecting breast imaging services in the UK, the College is working with the Association of Breast Clinicians (ABC) and Health Education England (HEE) to develop and pilot a credential in breast disease management with two main aims:

Logo of Heath Education England

  1. to standardise and recognise the training of breast clinicians
  2. to increase the breast clinician workforce to support breast screening and symptomatic services

The implementation of this credential through a pilot programme for 10 trainees in England has the support of Health Education England (HEE) which will be providing funding of £30,000 per trainee per year for the three years of the pilot.

Logo of the National Breast Imaging AcademyABC has drafted its Vision for the future which outlines how the pilot trainees will contribute to, and support the service once trained.

The training

The curriculum 

The credential curriculum is based around a number of high-level capabilities in practice. This is what a breast clinician will be expected to be able to do upon completion of the training. It includes considerable overlap with the breast content of the clinical radiology curriculum as well as covering clinical examination, risk factors such as family history and genetics, and the understanding of the use of prognostic and biological factors that influence oncological treatments. Download the curriculum to see the full programme.


Trainees will be required to pass the physics module of the First FRCR Examination in their first year of training. In addition to the physics examination, assessment is workplace based and formative in nature leading to an annual review and summative assessment to confirm progress. Full details of the assessment programme are included in the curriculum. Trainee breast clinicians will be given access to the RCR’s trainee e-portfolio, Kaizen, to document progress. Kaizen user guides are available for trainees and for supervisors.

Structure of training

The three-year training programme detailed in the curriculum covers multiple elements of training which will be learnt concurrently and will often dovetail across each other. There is no definite order in which each element of training or capability in practice should be undertaken but in order to provide some structure and logical progression in training, the first year focuses on clinical skills, family history, and physics teaching in order to pass the FRCR examination. The clinical and family history skills are built on during the second year whilst now incorporating imaging interpretation and reporting, in a highly supervised capacity.  During the final year, increasing independence is expected in ultrasound and mammography work in addition to interventional procedures such as biopsy and localisation. Trainees will be employed by the breast screening units which will largely lead the training, but they will also be linked to the local radiology training programme to access relevant training and physics teaching.

Review of progression

Closely based on the Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) process for specialty training, the review of credential trainees will be carried out by a national panel, convened by the Credential Project Board. A national review panel will ensure that a consistent standard is applied to all trainees across all training sites in this small pilot programme. It will be wholly independent of any of the pilot sites thereby ensuring impartiality and avoiding decisions on progression being made by the same people responsible for the training of any individual trainee. The 'Process for the review of trainee performance and progression' gives full details of the process and the panel.

Guidance for pilot sites

We have drafted a guidance document for the pilot sites which covers a variety of areas including the structure of training, supervision arrangements, the support that is expected to be given to trainees and much more. We hope this will be useful but if there is any other information you require please contact us.

Guidance on supervision

HEE has produced a suite of resources providing guidance on "Enhancing Supervision for Postgraduate Doctors in Training". This is of relevance for both trainees and supervisors in this programme and we would urge all those involved to read these documents:

The pilot programme 

With HEE’s support, a pilot programme has been implemented in England starting in August 2019. Pilot locations are listed below along with their recruitment status.

RegionEmploying trustHost siteNumber of traineesLink to job advert*Closing dateStatus
North EastNewcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation TrustRoyal Victoria Infirmary1Job advertCLOSED1 appointment made
North WestManchester Foundation TrustNightingale Centre, MFT, Manchester1

Job advert


1 appointment made
South EastInHealth LimitedJarvis Breast Centre, Guildford1Job advertCLOSED1 appointment made
South EastMid Essex Hospital Services NHS TrustBroomfield Hospital, Chelmsford1Job advertCLOSED1 appointment made
South East

London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

Northwick Park Hospital1Job advertCLOSED1 appointment made
SouthUniversity Hospital Southampton  NHS Foundation TrustPrincess Anne Hospital, Southampton1Job advertCLOSED1 appointment made
South WestRoyal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust & North Bristol TrustRUH Bath & Bristol Breast Care Centre2

RUH Bath: Job advert

NBT: Job advert


2 appointments made
South WestGloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation TrustCheltenham General Hospital1 CLOSED1 appointment made
Yorkshire & HumberLeeds Teaching Hospital NHS TrustLeeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust1Job advertCLOSED1 appointment made

Recruitment of pilot participants

Individual training posts were advertised and recruited to locally by each pilot site, using the same nationally agreed person specification. Jobs were advertised on NHS Jobs and links to each advert are in the table above. 


The first trainees in the pilot started training in late August 2019. Exact start dates for trainees vary depending on their location and the timescale of their recruitment. 

Potential trainees

The credential training programme was open to anyone post-Foundation Training but it was expected to also be attractive to those in SAS posts or those looking for a change of career and a better work/life balance. The person specification details the entry requirements and the curriculum details the content of the training programme. 

The initial pilot cohort is now complete. If a second cohort is approved this page will be updated.

FAQs and enquiries

Frequently asked questions are available and any enquiries not answered in the FAQs should be directed to the