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Overseas doctors

Doctors must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) to practice medicine in the UK or to undertake further training in an approved training post. To register with the GMC they must have a recognised medical qualification.

Doctors who are considering a move to the UK (whether permanently or for a short term period of training) are advised to thoroughly research the information available about living and working in the UK before making plans to travel.

In order to obtain further information on how to obtain registration please see the GMC website or contact the GMC directly by telephoning 08453 573 456 (e-mail: ).

Eligibility for overseas doctors

Overseas doctors (including those from the EU) wishing to enter the UK specialty training programme must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) and then apply for posts along with all other applicants in open competition via the national recruitment process.

Doctors who are not UK or EEA nationals and whose immigration status entitles them to work without restriction in the UK will be considered on an equal basis with UK and EEA nationals.

Other non-UK or non-EEA nationals with limited leave to remain in the UK whose employment will require a Work Permit (such as those on student or working holiday visas), are subject to the resident labour market test and may only be considered if there is no suitable UK or EEA national candidate for the post.

Evidence of immigration status should normally consist of a date stamped passport and accompanying letter from the Home Office. Applicants and assessors should visit http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/ for more information.

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To undertake the UK specialty training programme

If you wish to enter the UK Specialty Training Programme, you must first obtain registration with the GMC and then apply for posts along with all other applicants in open competition.

For further information on the changes to visa requirements that will affect overseas doctors and their application to specialty training, please see the information for overseas doctors on the Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) website.

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Registering as a public health specialist in the UK

In order to work as a public health consultant in the UK registration with the GMC Specialist Register or with the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) is required.

Most individuals achieve this by completing a UK training programme resulting in the award of a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).

On completion of training, medical doctors are recommended to the General Medical Council (GMC) for inclusion on the Specialist Register, while those from other disciplines are recommended for registration with the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR). However individuals who have completed specialty training in Europe or overseas may be eligible for entry to these registers without undergoing further training in the UK.

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Routes to registration for overseas and EU/EEA citizens

It is a legal requirement that doctors must have their names entered on the General Medical Council (GMC) Specialist Register before taking up substantive, honorary or fixed-term NHS consultant posts in the UK. Most doctors achieve this by completing a UK training programme resulting in the award of a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).

However, doctors who have completed specialty training overseas may be eligible for direct entry to the Specialist Register without undergoing further training in the UK.

The rules about entry to the Specialist Register are set out in the General and Specialist Medical Practice (Education, Training & Qualifications) Order 2003.

The Order provides a number of routes to the Specialist Register for public health doctors who come into these categories:

EU/EEA citizens

If you are a citizen of a European Economic Area (EEA) state (or married to an EEA national) with a specialist medical qualification awarded outside the UK you can apply for mutual recognition of your qualification under EEA law.

You must meet all of the following criteria in order to apply to the GMC for direct (automatic) entry to the Specialist Register:

  • Be a national of an EEA member state (or married to an EEA citizen who intends to demonstrate an enforceable European Community right to live in the UK).
  • Have been awarded a recognised European specialist qualification in a specialty in which there is a Certificate of Completion of Training.

The GMC no longer require you to hold a primary medical qualification from Europe when applying for registration in this way.

Please be advised that the rules for automatic entry are complex and under some circumstances, even if you meet the preceding criteria, your qualification may not be acceptable for direct entry. Please contact the GMC directly for information on registration procedures.

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