Update on the GMC registration process for International Medical Graduates

Update on the GMC registration process for International Medical Graduates

The General Medical Council UK is the public body who maintains the official register of medical practitioners in the United Kingdom. It is essential for all doctors to hold medical registration (General or Specialist) and a license to practise in order to work in the UK.

Now that the UK are post Brexit, the General Medical Council (GMC) have reviewed and implemented changes for the routes to registration. How you register with the GMC is no longer dependent on where you are a national of and is now based on where you gained your primary medical qualification.

A Doctor looking to gain registration with the GMC must complete any additional exams required, such as PLAB, IELTs or verification of documents prior to applying to the GMC for registration. Once the additional exams etc are completed you can make an application to the GMC for registration and from there it can take up to three months to be completed.

EEA trained applicants:
If you have a primary medical qualification from within the EEA and you’re applying for provisional or full registration in the UK, it is your medical qualifications – not your nationality – which will determine what evidence needs to be sent to the GMC.

In summary, you will need to:

  • Check if your medical qualifications are relevant European qualifications here.
  • Have your medical qualifications independently verified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).
  • Provide evidence of your knowledge of English language either through IELTs or OET exams.

As the UK and Switzerland have signed a Citizens’ Rights Agreement, qualifying Swiss applicants can apply for registration in much the same way as they did before the transition period ended, for at least the next four years.

Non EEA trained applicants:

For doctors who have trained outside Europe, the process can often involve additional examinations called PLAB exams. These are taken in two parts and are designed to assess your knowledge and skills to practise medicine in the UK. If you have not completed your training in English, you will be required to pass an English language test (IELTS or OET) also. Please click here for detailed information on the PLAB route.

Once you have passed the PLAB examinations you will need to have your qualifications independently verified by an online organisation – Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates – and submit your GMC application online. The application process via the PLAB route can take around 18 months to complete.

Other routes to registration:

Using an acceptable postgraduate qualification – You may be able to gain full registration without the PLAB route if you hold an acceptable primary medical qualification and a postgraduate qualification. You can find the list of acceptable postgraduate qualifications here.

Acceptable overseas registration exam - If you have passed an acceptable overseas registration exam and hold an acceptable primary medical qualification, you may be able to gain full registration without the PLAB route. You can find the list of acceptable overseas registration exams and more detailed information here.

Eligibility for entry to the Specialist register through CESR – This is to gain general and specialist registration. You would be required to submit evidence and documents to the GMC to prove that your speciality training is comparable to the UK CCT pathway. This process is very individualised to each applicant and can take between 6 – 9 months to complete and a decision to be made. You can learn more about the CESR route here.

Types of registration with the General Medical Council:

Below are the main types of registration which allow Doctors to work in different posts in the UK. All Doctors practising medicine in the UK must hold one of these types of registration along with a licence to practise.

Full General Registration – This allows Doctors to either move on to the second year of the Foundation Programme (F2) in an approved training programme or to work in unsupervised medical practices in the UK at junior levels. It also allows Doctors with the relevant experience/qualifications to work as a Locum Consultant on a one year contract in some hospitals.

Specialist Registration – This will allow a Doctor to take up an appointment in any fixed term, honorary or substantive Consultant post in the NHS excluding foundation trusts as well as work at any junior level.

Please note this is an overview of the updated application process for International Medical Graduates and we are happy to review training and qualifications with individuals to give specific advice on your application route.

We have opportunities across the UK & Ireland for doctors at all levels and specialities. If interested, get in touch with Allison Ballard via Linkedin here or call 0131 240 5287 or email allison@headmedical.com to assist you in finding your dream job.


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