In order to practice in the NHS a doctor must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). The procedure for registration varies according to whether the doctors primary medical qualification was awarded within or outside the European Economic Area (EEA).
GMC Full Registration
Doctors are eligible for full registration if they obtained their primary medical qualification within the UK, elsewhere within the EEA, or at certain universities in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia (if the primary qualification was received prior to 1990), New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and the West Indies.
GMC Limited Registration
Doctors who are not eligible for full registration can apply to the GMC for limited registration. To be eligible for limited registration doctors must hold a degree issued by a medical school recognised by the World Health Organisation. A list of WHO recognised medical schools is available from the GMC. To be granted limited registration a doctor must generally pass two tests:
# A linguistic ability assessment such as the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) test
# The Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test of clinical and language skills
The IELTS language test can be taken at any British Council office around the world, or in the UK. The PLAB test cannot be taken before the IELTS or a similar recognised test has been taken. To take the PLAB test doctors usually need to come to the UK, though there are test centres in Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Pakistan and Sri-Lanka where the first part of the test can be taken. To take the PLAB test in the UK, doctors are admitted as visitors and cannot practice medicine.
Applicants should be aware that the entire testing and registration process can take some time for candidates from outside the EEA, and that limited registration enables doctors to apply for specific training and non-consultant career grade posts.
Doctors initially granted Limited Registration may proceed to full registration once they are able to satisfy the GMC that they have acquired the necessary knowledge, skills and experience.
Before applying for any posts in the UK applicants should contact the GMC to establish their eligibility status for registration. The GMC can be contacted at:
The General Medical Council (GMC)
178 Great Portland Street
Tel: 020 7580 7642
Fax: 020 7915 3641
If a doctor is from a country outside the EEA and holds a specialist qualification, the Specialist Training Authority (STA) determines whether he/she is suitably qualified to work in a specialty in the UK. The STA will determine whether the qualification is equivalent to a UK Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST) for the specialty. If an applicant wishes to enter a consultant position in the NHS they should contact the STA at the address below before applying for any posts.
The Specialist Training Authority (STA)
70 Wimpole Street
London W1M 7DE
Tel: 020 7935 8586
Fax: 020 7935 9031